Your.Empowerment.Guide

The Mental Health Benefits of Singing

Among various musical expressions, singing stands out for its enchanting melodies and its profound impact on mental health. Beyond bringing joy, singing has therapeutic qualities that resonate deeply.


In this blog, I discuss:

– the mental health benefits of singing,

– how to get started, and

– the benefits of working with a music therapist to help jump-start this complementary modality.

Let’s explore the mental health benefits of raising our voices in song.

The Joy of Expression Through Song:

At its core, singing is emotional expression, serving as a cathartic release for a spectrum of feelings. Singing provides an outlet for emotions, fostering emotional balance. Psychological research consistently highlights the connection between expressive arts, like singing, and emotional well-being. Through vocal expression, individuals find a safe space to convey emotions that may be difficult to articulate verbally.

Connection and Community:

Singing forges connections and builds communities, creating a powerful sense of belonging. Whether in a choir, karaoke night, or spontaneous sing-along, singing together enhances social bonds and strengthens connections. In a world where social isolation is a concern, group singing counters loneliness, promoting mental well-being through shared expression.

The Science Behind Singing and Stress Reduction: 

Singing’s benefits extend beyond emotions to physiology, reducing stress. Singing releases endorphins, acting as natural stress relievers. It also lowers cortisol levels, which are associated with stress. Rhythmic breathing in singing promotes relaxation, alleviating tension and anxiety and providing a welcome break from daily demands.

Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem:

Engaging in vocal expression transforms confidence and self-esteem, whether in public or private. Projecting one’s voice and sharing musical gifts instill a profound sense of accomplishment.

Singing fosters newfound confidence, positively influencing various life aspects.

Cognitive Benefits of Singing:

Singing’s cognitive advantages include enhancing memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. The unique engagement of melody, rhythm, and memorization in singing provides a stimulating brain workout, contributing to mental agility and cognitive resilience.

Singing as a Coping Mechanism:

In challenging times, singing is a powerful coping mechanism that requires focus on the present moment. Engaging in rhythmic patterns redirects attention from stressors, offering a reprieve. Singing becomes a therapeutic refuge for the mind.

Vagal Toning and Nervous System Support: Singing promotes vagal toning, influencing the vagus nerve, a vital component of the parasympathetic nervous system. This connection contributes to stress reduction, emotional regulation, and overall nervous system support.

Starting to sing for mental health can be a rewarding and therapeutic experience, even if you’re not a professional singer or shy.


Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Choose Comfortable Settings:
    • Begin by singing in a comfortable and private space where you feel safe and relaxed, such as your room, bathroom, or any place you won’t be disturbed.

  2. Select Familiar Songs:
    • Start with songs that you know well and enjoy listening to. Familiarity can help you connect with the music and feel more confident in your singing.

  3. Practice Mindfulness:
    • Use singing as a form of mindfulness. Focus on your breath, the lyrics, and the melody. Pay attention to how singing makes you feel emotionally and physically.

  4. Start with Humming or Whistling:
    • If singing feels intimidating, humming or whistling along to your favourite tunes will help you get used to vocalizing without the pressure of singing lyrics.
      1. Please see my blog about Humming with instructions on ‘how-to’

  5. Take Small Steps:
    • Gradually increase the complexity of the songs you attempt. Start with simple melodies and then move on once feeling more confident.

  6. Use Karaoke Apps or Videos:
    • Karaoke apps or online singing tutorials can be helpful. They provide guidance and accompaniment, making it easier to follow along.

  7. Record Yourself:
    • Consider recording yourself singing to help you track your progress and build confidence over time. If you’re uncomfortable, you don’t have to share the recordings with anyone.

  8. Join a Singing Group or Class:
    • If you’re up to it, consider joining a singing group or taking a singing class. Being around others who share similar interests can provide support and encouragement.

  9. Focus on Expression, Not Perfection:
    • Remember that the goal is not perfection but expression. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and embrace the emotional release that singing can bring.

  10. Connect with Emotions:
    • Singing can be a powerful outlet for releasing stress, sadness, or other feelings you may be experiencing.

  11. Seek Professional Guidance:
    • If you want to improve your singing skills, consider taking lessons from a vocal coach. They can provide personalized guidance and help you develop your voice in a supportive environment.

Remember, the key is to enjoy the process and let singing be a positive outlet for your emotions. It’s a personal journey, and there’s no need to compare yourself to others. Over time, singing becomes a valuable tool for maintaining mental well-being.

Music therapy often involves various musical activities, including singing, to promote emotional, cognitive, and social well-being.

Singing as a therapeutic tool can be especially effective in a music therapy setting.

Here’s how a music therapist might use singing for therapy:

  1. Expressive Outlet:
    • Singing provides a unique channel for expressing emotions. Clients can convey their feelings through the lyrics, melody, and tone of their voice, allowing them to release emotions that may be challenging to express verbally.

  2. Emotional Regulation:
    • Music, including singing, has the power to regulate emotions. Through singing, individuals can experience a range of emotions, from joy to sadness, and the therapist can guide them in exploring and understanding these emotions.

  3. Building Confidence:
    • Singing in a supportive, non-judgmental environment can help individuals build confidence and self-esteem. Positive feedback from the therapist can reinforce a sense of accomplishment.

  4. Communication Skills:
    • Singing can improve communication skills, including verbal and nonverbal communication. It encourages individuals to listen, follow instructions, and collaborate with others, promoting social interaction.

  5. Coping Mechanism:
    • Singing is a healthy coping mechanism for managing stress, anxiety, or other mental health challenges. It provides a constructive way to channel emotions and create a sense of control.

  6. Memory and Cognitive Function:
    • Singing activities can stimulate memory and cognitive function, especially with familiar songs. It’s very beneficial for individuals with mental disorders or neurological conditions.

  7. Connection and Bonding:
    • Singing together fosters a sense of connection and bonding between the therapist and the client or among group members. This communal experience can create a supportive and inclusive atmosphere.

  8. Customized Interventions:
    • Music therapists can tailor singing interventions based on the individual’s needs and goals. This customization ensures the therapeutic approach aligns with the client’s preferences and objectives.

  9. Improving Breath Control and Relaxation:
    • Singing requires focused breath control, and practicing this skill can have physiological benefits, promoting relaxation and reducing stress.

  10. Integration with Other Therapeutic Approaches:
    • Singing can be integrated with other therapeutic modalities, such as talk therapy, movement, and art therapy, creating a holistic approach to mental health wellness.

Conclusion:

Singing emerges as a thread weaving joy, connection, and well-being. From emotional release to physiological and cognitive benefits, singing is a holistic remedy for mental health complexities. Embrace the melody within, for the simple act of singing, can uplift the spirit and harmonize the symphony of mental well-being. Let your voice soar, and discover the healing notes your soul seeks.

xx Allison

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek your physician’s advice or other qualified health providers with any questions regarding a medical condition.

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Allison Lund is board certified with the American Association for Drugless Practitioners
as a Personal Empowerment Coach, Gentle Trauma Release Practitioner, and Reiki Master.