Sing! (It’s Good for You)
Throughout the Bible (particularly in the Psalms), there are calls to sing God’s praises.
Is this because God demands our adoration? Do we really think God is that needy?
Maybe, just maybe, God wants us to sing praises because it is good for us.
When you sing out loud your body releases endorphins and increases levels of oxytocin, meaning your mood is lifted and you feel happier. Singing with groups of people or in choirs once again heightens these sensations as well as increases the feeling of bonding and trust. All the more reason to keep those vocal cords warmed up!
When we sing, large parts of our brain “light up” with activity, says Sarah Wilson, a clinical neuropsychologist and head of the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne. She led a study which looked at how the brain reacts when we sing by giving volunteers of varying vocal ability MRI scans as they warbled.
“There is a singing network in the brain [which is] quite broadly distributed,” Wilson says. When we speak, the hemisphere of the brain dealing with language lights up, as we might expect. When we sing, however, both sides of the brain spark into life.
So if you’ve had the opportunity to sing in a group after taking a COVID leave of absence and you ended up feeling euphoric and even a little light headed, you weren’t imaging it.
Leave your sneakers at home and break out the hairbrush! Singing out loud can use a range of muscles, as well as improving circulation at the same time. Singing can also reduce the risk of heart disease as it can help you relax as well as regulate your breathing.
According to research conducted at the University of Frankfurt, singing boosts the immune system. The study included testing professional choir members’ blood before and after an hour-long rehearsal singing Mozart’s “Requiem”. The researchers noticed that in most cases, the amount of proteins in the immune system that function as antibodies were significantly higher immediately after the rehearsal.
Sing in the shower.
Sing in your car.
Sing while you work.
Don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear.
Just sing. Sing a song.
Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.