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Science Explains How Singing In The Car Can Boost Your Mental Health

Science Explains How Singing In The Car Can Boost Your Mental Health

Who doesn’t love singing in the car? Whether as a means of livening up the school run, making the commute to work a little less dreary, or kicking off a road trip with a raucous impromptu karaoke session, most of us end up accompanying our favourite singers at least occasionally.

If you consider the number of hours the average person spends in cars every week, you’ll realize that it’s important to extract as much enjoyment from the driving process as possible. What better way than to turn on some great music and exercise those vocal cords? Here’s some awesome news: not only is singing in the car fun, it actually makes you happier and healthier! Read on to find out why singing is so much more than just a fun activity.

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Singing Gives Your Brain A Buzz

When you sing, your brain releases chemicals that give you a natural high. These include the neurotransmitters oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. If you sing along to a song that has especially positive associations or memories for you, then the effect is heightened even further. Yes, that’s right — singing provides you with a natural, free source of positivity whenever you need it! Why not turn on the radio right now?

The physiological reactions triggered by singing can even help people living with chronic pain to cope with their problem. A study published in the Journal Of Music Therapy in 2004 suggests that group singing helps people cope better with ongoing discomfort, although further research is needed. So if you face chronic health problems and feel able to do so, consider not only singing in the car more often, but also joining an organized singing activity or group on a regular basis. You’ll also have the opportunity to make friends, which is an awesome side benefit!

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Singing Is Great For Cardiovascular and Lung Health

When you sing, you make use of your lungs and chest muscles. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are a “good singer” — if you are making an effort to sing in tune, you will be giving your heart, lungs, and muscles in your upper body a good workout. This could have a positive effect on cardiovascular health. This benefit could be one reason why those who sing regularly tend to live longer, according to a Yale-Harvard study carried out in 2008.

Singing regularly also encourages you to develop better breathing control, and means you habitually take deeper, slower breaths. This can be good for anxiety as well as your general wellbeing.

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Singing With Others Feels Even Better

Humans are, at heart, social animals. As a general rule, what we like to do alone we often enjoy even better with others. If you have ever sung in a choir, you will know how rewarding it can be to sing a song well (or even not so well!) with other people. Even joining together to reach a few high notes feels like a real achievement when you are all sharing in the moment. Research shows that people who sing together become so attuned to one another that their heartbeats synchronize! Plus, a 2002 study published in the journal Psychology Of Music found that even listening to other people sing is enough to provide a mood boost. So, if you feel too shy to sing in front of other people in the car, you can still benefit from just listening.

With all these benefits demonstrated by research, take every opportunity to sing loud and proud whenever you’re in the car, wherever you may be headed! If you can get your friends and family to join you, then so much the better. You’ll all benefit and be smiling by the time you reach your destination.

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Featured photo credit: StockSnap via pixabay.com

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on October 14, 2020

The Art of Humble Confidence

The Art of Humble Confidence

To be confident or not to be confident, that is the question. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve been a bit confused about all this discussion about the subject of confidence. Do you really need to be more confident or should you try to be more humble? I think the answer is both – you just have to know where to use it.

East VS West – Confidence, It’s a Cultural Thing

In typical Western countries, the answer to the confidence debate is obvious – more is better. Our heros are rebellious, independent and shoot first, ask questions later. I think this snippet of dialog from The Matrix sums it up best:

Agent Smith – “We’re willing to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh start. All that we’re asking in return is your cooperation in bringing a known terrorist to justice.”
Neo – “Yeah. Well, that sounds like a pretty good deal. But I think I may have a better one. How about, I give you the finger”
[He does]
Neo -“ …and you give me my phone call.”

In Eastern countries, the tone is often considerably different. Elders are supposed to be revered not dismissed. The words ‘guru,’ meaning a teacher, and the philosophy of dharma, loosely translated to mean ‘duty,’ come from here. In Eastern cultures humility and respect are more important than confidence.

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These perspectives are generalizations, but it shows how the confidence debate goes back deep into our culture. I think that both extremes of pure confidence or pure humility are misguided. Instead of rectifying this situation by simply blending the two: becoming somewhat humble, somewhat confident all the time, I believe the answer is to know when to be confident and when to be humble.

Humble Confidence – Know When to Use It

I’m going to make another broad generalization. I believe that virtually every relationship you are going to have is going to fit into one of two major archetypes, either master or student. In peer relationships this master/student role may switch frequently, but it is extremely rare that the relationship never leans to one side.

In the master role, you are displaying confidence to get what you want. This is public speaker, leader or seducer. Being the master has advantages. You have more control and ability to influence from this role.

The student role is the opposite. You are intentionally displaying humility. This is the student, disciple or follower. Being the student has advantages too. You can learn a lot more in this role and are more likely to win the trust of the other person.

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Know When to Shut Up and Learn

If you are a typical Westerner, you are probably already thinking about which role you prefer. Being the leader is great. You get respect and a higher status. Most of all you get a greater degree of control.

But the problem is that you can’t and shouldn’t always try to be the leader. Trying to assume that role without the skills, resources or status to back it up will lead to conflict. More importantly, there are many times when you purposely want to display humility. Some of the benefits to the student role include:

  • You learn more.
  • Smooths relationships.
  • Makes others more willing to lend a helping hand.

Knowing when taking the humble route is to your advantage. It is far easier to get mentors and advisors if you use humility rather than arrogance. A small sacrifice to your ego can open up the potential to learn a lot.

Confidence to Persuade, Humility to Learn

In reality almost no relationship is as clearly defined as master/student. Within our connections, people have overlapping areas of expertise. I might be an expert in blogging to a non-blogger, but they might be an expert in finance. In each area there are different roles to take.

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Before any interaction ask yourself what the purpose is. Are you trying to learn or persuade?

Persuasion requires confidence. If you are trying to sell, instruct or lead you need to display the confidence to match your message. But learning requires humility. You won’t learn anything if you are constantly arguing with your professors, mentors or employers. Taking a dose of humility and temporarily making yourself a student gives you the opportunity to absorb.

Persuade Less, Learn More

Persuasion is great for immediate effect, but learning matters over the long-haul. Instead of washing over all your communication with pure confidence, look for opportunities to learn. Persuading someone to follow you may give you an immediate boost of satisfaction, but it doesn’t last. Learning, however, is an investment for the future.

Whenever I make a connection with someone and realize they have a skill or understanding I want, I am careful to express humility in that area. That means listening with what they say even if I don’t immediately agree and being patient with their response. This method often drastically cuts down the time I need to spend on trial and error to learn by myself.

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Confidence/Humility Doesn’t Replace Communication Skills

This approach of selectively using confidence and humility for different purposes doesn’t replace communication skills. Humility isn’t going to work if the other person thinks you’re an irritating whiner. Confidence won’t work if the entire room thinks you are an arrogant jerk. Knowing how to display these two qualities takes practice.

The next time you are about to enter into an interaction ask yourself why you are doing it. Are you trying to persuade or learn? Depending on which you can take a completely different tact for far better results.

Featured photo credit: BBH Singapore via unsplash.com

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