It is always claimed that singing can improve your health. Both psychologically and physically. A recent research study now confirms that joining a choir can boost your mental health.
Research by an online survey of 375 people who were either members of a choir, sang alone, or played team sports.
Results showed that all three activities created a high level of psychological wellbeing. Furthermore, the people who sang in choirs experienced the greatest benefit.
The research study was carried out at Oxford Brookes University and led by Nick Steward who said:
“Research has already suggested that joining a choir could be a cost-effective way to improve people’s well-being. These findings suggest that feeling part of a cohesive social group can add to the experience of using your voice to make music.”
A Swedish study suggested that joining a choir has a positive effect on lowering stress levels and blood pressure.
The Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Heart and Health, Canterbury carried out a year long research study. This showed that 60% of participants had less mental distress when retested after joining a choir.
Joining a Choir Conclusions
Mr Steward added “The implications may be that any activity we do as part of a group is particularly enjoyable. But people who sang in a choir had a stronger sense of being part of a meaningful group.
There is also a suggestion that there is something unique about the synchronicity of moving and breathing with other people.”
The above blog has been adapted from an article that appeared in The Telegraph newspaper.
Alan Thompson says
Very interesting article Dafydd. One of the popular models for wellbeing is the NEF “5 ways to wellbeing”, which I’m sure you will have come across. There’s a nice overview here – http://www.mind.org.uk/for-business/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-yourself/five-ways-to-wellbeing/
If you look at the 5 themes, I think being part of a choir ticks all the boxes.
I also wrote an article about how my main hobby – cycling – also seems to tick the wellbeing boxes, but in a slightly different way. http://www.scarletfire.co.uk/5-ways-wellbeing-cycling/
I particularly like the idea of the synchronicity, and moving/breathing in unison having an effect. Very interesting stuff!
Dafydd Jones says
Thanks Al. We’ve always been aware of the health benefits if it’s just the effect of letting out steam!!
Wellbeing and Recovery are all part of MIND strategy and has proved successful with Vale of Clwyd Mind entertainment group ‘Meatballs’ who have performed for the last five consecutive years at Llangollen International Eisteddfod. They have become a cohesive self help group with each member experiencing fulfilment and satisfaction, not to mention the additional skills they’ve acquired along the way.
I shall look forward to the day when Doctors will be prescribing Rehearsal once weekly and concert and wedding PRN (whenever necessary)
Alan Thompson says
Indeed. It’s a shame that for many people, a simple thing like engaging in a nice social activity could be a big part of the solution to their issues, but so many people (including doctors, I bet) have an automatic tendency to reach for the pills first.