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Can singing relieve stress?

Kristen  Brown
Alternative & Complementary Medicine

Singing can absolutely relieve stress for a few reasons.

1. When you sing you stimulate the vagus nerve (no - not THAT Vegas) that runs down the back of the sinus cavity and throat. When this nerve is stimulated it relaxes the body, naturally relieving the tension that stress can cause. 

2. Singing is fun - and sometimes funny. When you participate in fun activities, your body releases endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals. This naturally improves your mood and helps to counteract the effects of the feel-bad stress chemicals circulating in your body.

3. If you can add some booty-shaking dance moves to your singing, you can further increase endorphins and elevate your heart rate. This exercise element helps to circulate the stress chemicals out of your body faster too. 

When stress sets in, sing it away! This works great for kids who are having tantrums or are upset too. All ages can benefit from a good singing session so belt it out even if you're a little (or a lot) off tune!

Brooke Randolph
Marriage & Family Therapy

Excerpts from my blog Please Don't Stop the Music published at Diets in Review (http://www.dietsinreview.com/diet_column/01/please-dont-stop-the-music/):

There has been a lot of research about the effect of music on mood and even matching tempo to heart rate. There also appears to be a magic number for volume; Spinal Tap had it right all along. Dr. Neil Todd and his team has been cited extensively on their research regarding the sacculus, an organ in the inner ear that helps regulate balance. The sacculus is attached to the hypothalamus by the vestibular nerve. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that helps regulate appetite, libido, temperature, anger, and fatigue. They report that this connection could explain the rush that many feel when their balance is effected through carnival rides, bungee jumping, or even swinging as a child. 

They have found that the sacculus also appears to be stimulated by sounds above 90 decibels. A very similar physical and emotional rush can be experienced when we listen to music above 90 decibels. Rock and dance music are often the most commonly chosen playlists for exercise, and most people like to turn the volume up to drown out the rest of the world, likely putting you at or above the 90 decibel level. Singing (you know you rock out in the car) can have the same effect on your sacculus. No wonder we love turning up our tunes and hearing ourselves sing while driving in traffic; it’s not just the acoustics of your vehicle. 

Yes. Singing releases feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins. It also draws more oxygen into the blood and causes better circulation, reducing stress.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.