There's a reason why singing in the shower feels so good...
Do you ever wish that they filmed The Voice in your bathroom because of how you’re able to slay an Adele ballad while at the same time washing your hair? Are some of your happiest moments singing in the car pretending that you’re competing on America’s Got Talent?
You love singing in the privacy of your own space, and if you’re in the right mood (and inebriated enough) you can kill it at karaoke, but singing in public isn’t your first choice. You only feel free to really sing it out when there’s nobody there watching, and it’s just you and your mic (i.e. anything you use to stand in for a mic. Hair brushes are the classic mic-substitution.)
The truth is for some people, singing is more about self-care than getting a recording contract or having an impressive vocal range. The good news is that when you’re singing your favorite song in the shower or in the car, you’re actually doing something really good for yourself.
You don’t need any fancy equipment, training, or even talent to do it and still be able to enjoy the benefits of singing along to your favorite playlist.
Singing is calming.
“I prescribe singing in the car to many of my patients, especially those who travel the world’s largest parking lot—the Long Island Expressway,” says Dr. Eugene Charles, Director of The Applied Kinesiology Center of New York. “Singing releases tension activates the right brain which affects the emotions stored in the limbic system and it stimulates the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve has a calming effect on your body and is facilitated by chanting, humming, gargling, and singing.” Rather than blowing up and melting down, try singing to relax. It’s like venting, only more melodic.
Singing helps to build your confidence.
“When you sing out loud when you are by yourself, it is amazing what it can do for you,” says Dr. Alok Trivedi, founder of The Aligned Performance Institute. “First, it’s a great confidence booster. Belting out your favorite tune sends a message to your brain that you are confident, strong and unstoppable.” Next time you have a big interview or are going out on a first date, try singing a little Ariana Grande beforehand.
Singing is energizing
What many people don’t know is that singing is great for battling fatigue. Since singing can give you an emotional high, it can make you feel less tired and energized. Dr. Trivedi says, “If you’re feeling tired or didn’t sleep that well the night before, getting into a tune can get the blood pumping and give you some energy. Now, I wouldn’t advise doing a whole set of songs as singing can also be energy-draining, but a singing a song or two might be as good as having a small amount of caffeine.
Singing creates body-awareness.
“If someone is singing in a way that they find pleasurable, and if they are paying attention to themselves to maximize that pleasure, they will be moving themselves towards a greater sense of where they are in space, of how the breathing apparatus relates to standing, “ say Adam Cole, director of The Grant Park Academy of the Arts. “Considering the wear and tear that can come as a result of continued inefficient breathing and standing over the years, singing alone turns out to be a very nice antidote…” When we sing it helps if we are standing or sitting straight which can help with posture and back pain. And you just thought you were showing Jessie J how it’s done, not avoiding hurting your back or reinforcing terrible posture.
Singing can lift your spirits.
Unless you’re a professional singer or want to be a professional singer, chances are that you sing just for the love of singing and how it makes you feel. Dr. Nancy Irwin says, “Endorphins are released whenever we experience, even briefly, a few moments of pure joy.” The chemicals that are released when we sing can help alleviate feelings of stress, depression, and sadness. Just the simple act of singing with abandon will make you feel better—even if it’s not a happy song.
Singing in the car can help prevent road-rage.
When you’re singing, you’re helping to get all your negative emotions out in a positive way. If you start to feel some road-rage because someone cut you off or isn’t moving as quickly as you’d like, instead of doing something aggressive like giving them the finger, screaming at them, or trying to ram them in your car, do some singing instead. It may sound too simple to be effective, but it works. You’re putting your negative energy into something positive by focusing on the words, the tempo, and even the loudness of your voice. You’re not stuffing those emotions down, you’re reacting, but in a much safer way.
Singing helps increase your brain power.
Dr. Kenny Devin Fine says, “Research has shown that music not only engages the auditory system, but many other parts of your brain as well, including areas responsible for movement, language, attention, memory, and emotion.” Singing may not make you eligible for MENSA, but it will help to stimulate your creativity, focus, and ability to retain information.
The next time your roommate knocks on the bathroom door and asks you if you can keep it down with your singing, let them know you’re not doing it to annoy them; you’re singing for your health and well-being.