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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 December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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