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

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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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