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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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