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21 Incredible Benefits of Singing That Will Impress You

21 Incredible Benefits of Singing That Will Impress You

Today didn’t start well. Last night, I gave a difficult presentation at a meeting, and I was still turning things over in my mind when I awoke this morning. My husband and I grumbled at each other, and then I had an unpleasant encounter with someone while out walking the dogs. The day was shaping up to be a real drag.

I sing and play in a local band. We mostly do covers, sort of folk and Latin rock with Celtic, blues, jazz, and all kinds of other stuff thrown in. One of the other band members had given me a CD of some new music for us to work on, so I started listening to it. In spite of the murky thoughts lingering in my mind, I found myself starting to sing along, and before I knew it, two hours had gone by. During that two hours, I was in heaven, exploring the different sounds my voice made with the recording, analyzing the upcoming chords, anticipating the holes in the harmony that I needed to fill, sometimes hitting a bad note or getting the words wrong, but it didn’t matter. I was completely immersed in the process. My mind simply didn’t have any room to mull over unpleasant memories or people about which I could do nothing.

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Now, I feel wonderful: light, refreshed, relaxed … like I just woke up from a nice nap or got back from a beautiful walk. My worries from last night and this morning are completely gone, and I’m ready to take on the world, including writing this blog post. Which is going remarkably easily. Much more easily than it would have gone with my previous gloomy, distracted mindset.

What happened?

Well, scientists certainly would like to know. Whether we’re belting out a favorite song in the car with the stereo turned up loud, sitting with a guitar on a balcony or in a coffee house, taking center stage as part of a musical theater production or joining our voice with those of others in a church or community choir, there seems to be something almost magical about singing’s effect on the human body. My own grandfather insists that he overcame his depression through getting up every morning and singing before the sun rose. In study after study, the benefits of singing included not just the mental, but the emotional, physical, and even spiritual well-being of its participants. One might even be tempted to call singing a cure-all.

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Here’s a rundown of just some of the health benefits of singing that have been reported:

Twenty Health Benefits of Singing

Physical

1. Works the lungs, tones up the intercostals and diaphragm.
2. Improves sleep
3. Benefits cardio function by improving aerobic capacity
4. Relaxes overall muscle tension
5. Improves posture.
6. Opens up sinuses and respiratory tubes
7. With training, could help decrease snoring
8. Releases endorphins
9. Boosts immune system
10. Helps improve physical balance in people affected by illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease

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Emotional

12. Increases self-esteem and confidence
13. Increases feelings of wellbeing
14. Increases mental alertness
15. Enhances mood
16. Reduces, anger, depression, and anxiety
17. Reduces stress
18. Stimulates creativity
19. Energizes
20. Alleviates loneliness and acts as a social lubricant

Wait…there’s one more benefit to singing:

It’s fun!

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I’ve suspected for awhile now that having fun is way more important that our culture would like us to think. Having fun feels good. And when we feel good, our minds work better, our emotions work better, our bodies work better, we make better decisions, we relate to other people better … in short, everything works better.

Turns out, my observations are being backed up by science.

Physicists discovered awhile ago that we and everything we see exists in a soup of spinning, vibrating particles. Now they’re finding out that what we think and feel actually creates magnetic fields that cause these particles to echo our thoughts and feelingsAin’t that a kicker? It’s like we’re walking around in a 3-D universal mirror. If we smile, the mirror smiles. If we frown, the mirror frowns. So anything we do that makes us feel good literally spins our bodies and our worlds into feeling good, too.

How are you going to discover for yourself the benefits of singing?

Featured photo credit: Singing In The Shower/Paul Scott via photopin.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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