Research shows that singing can reduce stress and anxiety
Researchers from the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, Folkestone, Kent, and from the University of Kent, asked one sample group of 240 volunteers, all over 60, to do weekly singing sessions over a period of three months; another group of 240 did no sessions. Of the group who sang regularly, there was a significant improvement in mental health scores, according to tests, and they also showed reduced anxiety and depression. Overall quality of life, as defined by NICE (National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence), was also improved – so much so that singing in a group scenario was calculated to be a cost-effective form of health intervention.
The improvements in overall wellbeing could be a result of several factors: being in a social setting such as that in a community singing group may help foster a positive attitude, or encourage more activity via new friendships and thereby also provide emotional support. Regulating breathing patterns by singing may also help create a state of calm, reducing stress and anxiety. Hearing others sing as you sing may also have a beneficial effect. There may also be other brain-related mechanisms at work.
Crying out to be heard?
Some of the best places to find singing groups are churches but if you’re not religious, try one of the following:
Start your own group. Go here for help and advice:
Join a choir. Go here to find one near you:
Attend a ‘come and sing’ event: