Can Singing Make You Feel Better? Science Says It's Linked To Big Boosts In Your Mood
I have a Spotify playlist for just about every mood I experience, and music in general really is a lifesaver for me. Whether I'm looking for something to pump me up, calm me down, or just help me get out a good cry ("When She Loved Me" from Toy Story is my favorite for this), finding the right song for the occasion helps me get out my emotions so I can move on with my day. Pump up the jams and start rocking out to whatever albums you love most, because singing can make you feel better when you're in a bad mood, according to a new study.
According to a ScienceDaily press release, the researchers involved in the study, which was recently presented at the Society for Neuroscience 2018 conference, examined how 17 participants with Parkinson's disease in a therapeutic singing group reacted to one hour of singing, measuring things like the participants' heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol (aka stress) levels. As per ScienceDaily, the singers' Parkinson's symptoms appeared to show dramatic improvements, in more ways than one, after the one-hour singing session. "Some of the symptoms that are improving, such as finger tapping and the gait, don't always readily respond to medication, but with singing they're improving," Elizabeth Stegemöller, an author of the study and assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, said in a statement for the press release.
While the physical results are remarkable, the ScienceDaily press release states that the participants also reported lower levels of anxiety and sadness after their singing session — which backs up my own personal opinion that there are few things in this world that can help you through a bad day the way a great song can.
What's more, belting along to the latest Ariana Grande bop can even improve your immune system, according to a 2016 study published in the cancer journal Ecancermedicalscience. Here, the researchers studied 193 people whose lives were affected by cancer — either as patients or as caregivers — to see the effect that singing might have on their immune systems. In addition to benefits like improved mood and reduced stress, the study showed that an hour of time spent in song seems to benefit, and help to regulate, certain components of the immune system, for both cancer patients and their caregivers.
And if you think that's cool, then get this: If you spend most of your nights tossing and turning because you or your partner can't stop snoring, a few sing-along sessions during your commute could be the key to helping you finally sleep again. For a study published in the medical journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 20 chronic snorers were asked to practice common singing exercises for 20 minutes a day, for three months total. According to the study's results, the participants who kept up with the singing exercises showed a significant reduction in their snoring, which honestly sounds like nothing short of a miracle.
I don't know about you, but for me personally, a great song always makes me want to dance. Besides the fact that showing off your best moves could totally be a great workout, science says it could also help you deal with physical pain more effectively. And while you might assume this has something to do with stretching out your muscles, a study published in the academic journal Evolution and Human Behavior suggests that your pain perception before and after a dance party has more to do with developing a connection with the other bodies on the floor than anything else. This study's researchers examined people at a silent disco, and the results showed that, for those who were dancing in sync with others, they said that the experience of being squeezed with a blood pressure cuff (i.e. the researchers' experimental way of measuring participants' pain perception) was less painful than it was before dancing. Those who were dancing to a different rhythm than those around them, on the other hand, reported feeling more pain with the blood pressure cuff, meaning the study really did demonstrate a link between dance and reduced pain.
So, whether you're a huge Drake fan, or you're more into old school rock, crank up the volume and sing away to your heart's content.