Many of us have heard the term “Sing like no one is listening” and some of us choose to do that alone in the shower, where “no one” is listening. But, why should we be singing and what are some of the benefits for our brain, our overall health and our well-being?
When we look at the brain, our ability to speak comes from the “temporal lobe” however, the ability to sing comes from the “frontal lobe”. Many studies of the brain’s reaction to music and singing have shown that those things that the frontal lobe controls, can actually cross over the hemispheres of the brain and enhance the areas that may be lacking, such as the temporal lobe in regard to speech. In long-term care we see many of our residents that have aphasia or difficulty speaking, however when music is played, we find that they are able to sing the lyrics to a favorite song.
The “Alzheimer’s Society” in the UK started the “Singing for the Brain” network, where people who have experienced a stroke or those with a diagnosis of dementia, can join together to sing. Those who take part, find that they are able to share their lives through singing and have better recollection of past memories centered around music. Many times, music is the portal to life’s memories and experiences, moments of joy or sorrow, celebration or defeat, or love and loss; singing has been a way for generations to share their heart and soul around these aspects of life, or to communicate a message.
Singing can also benefit our physical health, by opening and expanding our lungs and diaphragm for better breath control, it oxygenates the blood to our brain, helps with circulation and alertness and in some cases, it can benefit taste and swallowing. The expansion of our upper body during singing can also strengthen our core muscles and promote better posture.
What can singing do for our sense of well-being? Science has shown that when we sing or even listen to music, it releases endorphins in the brain, the chemicals that help us feel uplifted and happy and it can motivate us to accomplish new goals. Singing can also be a non-pharmacological intervention for feelings of depression, anxiety or other mental wellness needs.
At Prestige, music and singing are a vital part of our residents’ daily life engagement. Through our Celebrations and Expressions programs, having music as part of our Linked Senior and Ageless Grace products, we strive for benefits in physical health, neuroplasticity of the brain, spiritual health and artistic expression. So, let’s have some fun and “Sing like no one is listening”!
Expressions Product Manager