Today we had a visit from Kari Olsen-Porterhouse (Liberty singer), Kari’s role is to help business form choirs with the outcome of improving mental health in the workplace.
How does singing help our mental health I hear you ask...? It’s a good question and if you listen in or read on the answer will become clear.
We now have evidence to prove that when we sing serotonin is released into the body. Serotonin is what we might refer to as the happiness hormone. It is released when we feel joy or happiness and therefore lifts our mood, if we never do anything that lifts out mood and never forces the release of serotonin, we can begin to feel sad.
So why does singing release serotonin? What is it about singing and of course music which lifts our mood? I do wonder and I have no proof on this, only my own theory, I wonder if it has something to do with us humans being balls of energy and vibrations. As we sing, we create vibrations within our body. Singing is often rhythmic. I wonder if there is something in there about singing calming vibrations, maybe making the vibration’s we feel more pleasant to live with. If we look at this the opposite way; put yourself in one of your most stressful situations and imagine how your vibrations might look and feel, not very pleasant I’m guessing?
Other areas to also consider as we are talking about vibrations; imagine how it might feel if we sing with another person and make a beautiful harmony. Surely this would enhance the good feeling we get from singing because we might now feel connected to another human being. Remembering that we are biologically wired to connect to other humans. In a choir perhaps this is magnified many, many times.
The other aspect to singing in choirs is the social element, for some people this might be the only time they get out with others. It’s a reason to get out, it’s a reason to meet other people, it’s what I call “a doing thing” the side effect of singing in this environment might be that a person makes friends and if nothing else they will on some level connect to other human beings.
As Kari and I chatted, she mentioned that she would love to see more men in choirs. So why do we not have more men singing. My theory (sorry there is always a theory) is the same reason that I believe we get more women in therapy than men, women naturally express more. I know, before someone writes in, that is a massive generalisation, but it is to some extent true, women express. Maybe the reason we have more females singing in choirs is because of this freedom to express...? Maybe men feel more inhibited, less able to express. It’s also quite interesting that when we look at singers in the world around us, there is more balance. Maybe men feel safer on their own or in small groups? Who knows, if you have a theory, I would be happy to hear it.
We also know about singing that it can bring about pain relief, thinking back to the vibrations caused by singing, maybe the vibrations help soothe the pain. Imagine what pain vibrations might look like. In my head they would be very unsteady, inconsistent, not very rhythmic and almost jagged in appearance. So, the calming vibrations of song would calm all of this, leading to less pain.
How wonderful that singing could lead is to connect with others, help us manage grief, connect with other humans, the list is endless. Why are will all not singing in choirs?
I learned during this recording that song and music are amazing, they are one of the few things in life that can reduce us to tears, to make us feel, to make us smile, or to make us feel sad. If you get the chance, go and sing in a choir, it’s not for everyone, but it might just be for you.
Theses podcasts are yours, the listener, please let us know if there is a subject you would like us to cover, or a subject you would like to know more about.
Also please let us know if you or anyone you know would like to be a guest on one of our recordings. We only ask that you have some personal or professional experience in and around mental health.
Happiness and peace.
Contact details for Kari: https://www.facebook.com/libertysinger/