This may seem a very odd blog post for a Nutritionist but here’s the thing….
Your health is dependant on so many factors and of course, your mental health is a key part of the well-being puzzle.
When I moved areas 4 years ago, I was introduced to the idea of joining the local choir! Initially I completely rejected this idea (mostly because I was terrified!!!!) but eventually after some persuasion I went along.
Singing has become a big part of my life. I am a loud and proud member of The Kent Soul Choir. I simply LOVE it! I have also made so many friends through the choir.
I believe that music is vital to our well-being. You only have to look at the numerous studies about the benefits of singing in a choir as well as the effect that music has on those with diseases such as dementia.
In my Get Back to You programme I talk a lot about the importance of having joy in your life! Having ‘me time’ and social connection. My programme is generally aimed at Mum’s and as a collective we can find ourselves lacking in any personal time, fun and can feel lonely when our kids come along.
For me, singing has become as important to my health as eating well and exercise.
We know from studies that singing reduces cortisol (that’s the stress hormone) and the knock-on effect of this is that it reduces anxiety, low mood and stress. All rather important in today’s fast paced world.
Other studies have also shown that singing in a group regulates heart rate and improves lung function.
There is something so special about music. It can really take you back to a vivid memory, it can lift you out of a bad mood, it can make you laugh, it can make you dance around your kitchen like a crazy person (or that may just be me!!).
What a shame it is that music is being cut from so many schools, especially given the rise in the numbers of children with mental health problems. And did you know that some studies have shown improvements in children’s reading ability due to increased auditory and cognitive ability when taking part in music related activities.
A couple of weeks ago I had to do an exercise (as part of the learning I’m doing about the brain). The homework was to sit and do nothing for 4 hours! As a working Mum I considered at first that this would be impossible but it was a compulsory homework activity and so I scheduled this is and I sat with nothing but my thoughts for 4 hours!
I have a lot of monkey chatter in my head but one thing I did notice was that I also have a lot and I mean a lot of songs in my head!!!! After 4 hours of doing nothing I felt so incredibly at peace! The point of the exercise was to understand how much self-talk goes on and to discover how much was negative or judgmental or analytical.
I personally have very little negative chatter in my head, which is a great thing! The fact that I had a lot of songs, I put down to singing in choir. What would you rather have in your head!?
So, to conclude, your health is a puzzle made up of many aspects, one of which relates to happiness. Find your joy and your health will improve. If your joy is singing then you will also get all the other benefits that go with it.
Take some time for YOU!
Do something for YOU!
And see the benefits it brings you. It is not selfish to put your needs first because when you do everyone around you also benefits too.