About a month or so ago we hopped in the car and headed over the border to attend a folk festival in Vancouver, B.C. I’ve been sort of euphoric ever since. It was super fun to be invited as a group to “sing along” with the performers, but for me it was even more fun to come home and belt out my favorite songs. – With or without the recordings. It occurred to me that my neighbors might not be quite as ecstatic about this latest development as I was, and decided maybe I should do some research on the subject, in case the singing police showed up at my door. I am greatly gratified to report that while there are noise ordinances, I am pretty sure I can get a note from my Dr excusing me on the basis of what I found. Science at least definitively supports my urge to sing. Call it a cheap fix, I’m hooked. An article from Time says that studies have shown that endorphins are released when singing, (hence the euphoria) also oxytocin. Singing apparently lessens feelings of depression and loneliness, – which in my case may not be reality based since even the dog leaves the room when I sing. Fortunately you don’t have to be a good singer to reap these rewards! Cortisol, a stress relieving hormone is another of the beneficial chemical released as a result of belting out your favorite tune.
A joint Harvard and Yale study showed that singing increased the life expectancy of Newhaven CT. (Don’t ask me how?) – A study out of Gothenburg Sweden showed that singing is good for your heart! Björn Vickhoff the musicologist who led the study compared choral singing to yoga, telling the BBC that, “When you exhale [as you sing] you activate the vagus nerve, we think, that goes from the brain stem to the heart…” The vagus nerve is also believed to be linked to emotional health. If by healthy they mean imagining oneself as an operatic diva, -I’m in. Meanwhile, if you hear of any choral groups with no qualifying standards, please let me know!