Christmas Carols Are Good for Your Health

By the time Thanksgiving comes around, it’s almost unavoidable to hear Christmas songs. Love them or hate there, they are everywhere. For some people, the songs are already driving them nuts; for others, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. But, research says that singing, especially group singing is good for health. Finding people to sing with is easier at this time of year than at others. Here’s why you might want to consider joining the chorus.
 
A recent study found that singing not only makes you momentarily happier, it also eases anxiety and depression. And people who sang in a group had continuing mental improvements. Singing releases the “feel good” chemicals dopamine, endorphin and serotonin in your brain. Low levels of these chemicals have been linked to depression and other mental health problems. Additionally, having support and company can have positive impacts on mental health so singing with a group can make you part of a community you would otherwise miss out on. Singing has also been linked to the easing of chronic pain, which can also be affected by “happy” brain chemicals.
 
In addition to having these impacts, singing has other physical benefits. “Singing lowers your blood pressure, it improves your breathing capacity, it straightens your posture and it actually tunes your brain to distinct soundwaves,” explained Elisa James, a vocal coach with a Masters degree in holistic health.
 
Another study found that singing aids lung health. Singing sometimes requires deep breaths and strong exhales. This can help breathing problems, COPD, and muscle strength. The British Lung Foundation found that the best five Christmas carols to improve lung health are Silent Night, Winter Wonderland, White Christmas, When a Child Is Born and Let It Snow. A different study found that people with asthma saw fewer symptoms when singing.
 
Singing is a form of gentle exercise that many of us don’t think about. It can increase your heart rate as you breath more deeply. Moreover, adrenaline from performance can raise your heart rate as well. “As it’s an aerobic activity, singing improves heart health with related benefits to overall health and is linked to longevity, stress reduction and general health maintenance,” explained Barbara Dinsdale of Heart Research UK.
 
This holiday season, sing along with the radio. Sing in the kitchen. Get your friends and family to join in. You might find that simply starting to sing encourages others to join in. It won’t just lift your holiday spirit — it will aid your health.
December 16, 2019
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