New Year, New You?!
As the New Year (and decade) fast approaches, many minds will be turning to thoughts of New Year’s resolutions and promises to be a better, more-productive and all-round sparklier version of oneself. Two of the most common resolutions (from a quick straw poll of friends and family) are to get fitter and be happier, and in this busy day and age, we want to be the best versions of ourselves but we are more aware of what a strain this can put on our bodies and minds.
So if it’s a revolutionary resolution you’re looking for, and a new activity that supports both a healthy mind and body, then why not consider: JOINING A CHOIR!
Here’s ten reasons why singing your stresses away should be your goal in 2020:
1. Singing increases confidence and promotes creativity
What better way to express yourself and release your inner popstar than on the stage in an exciting performance? If you’ve always been too shy to get up on the karaoke machine alone, then a group of like-minded people around you might be just what you need to give it a try. You’ll be on The X Factor in no time!
2. Singing builds community and a sense of belonging
Your choir becomes your team, your family and your support. After a bad day, there’s nothing greater than coming back to your safe place to forget about the outside world.
3. Singing combats anxiety and is a natural antidepressant
Singing causes the body to produce “the love hormone” oxytocin which is known to reduce anxiety and promote feelings of calm and bonding. Furthermore, it decreases muscle tension in the whole body.
4. Singing strengthens immunity and cuts down on illness
Singing increases the quantity of proteins of the immune system – the antibodies – which means that your body can actually fight off infection better, and researchers have shown that this change only happens if you take part in the singing yourself, rather than just listening! So get to that choir rehearsal now.
5. Singing produces endorphins and makes you feel energised
The same “happy hormones” that you get from a bar of chocolate are produced when you break into song. Need we say more?!
6. Singing creates opportunity and widens your social circle
Choir is a great way to meet new people, and there’s nothing better than heading down the pub together after rehearsal, or spending a day at a singing workshop with your best friends. Plus you’ll get to perform in some really fantastic venues.
7. Singing reduces stress and helps you sleep better
An hour of singing can significantly reduce the body’s stress hormones, such as cortisol. Plus, all that concentrated breathing can help you drift off more easily and stay asleep longer – similar to the breathing in meditation. And if that’s not enough, long-suffering partners will be glad to know that when you sing, you build up the throat and palate - which helps stop snoring and sleep apnea!
8. Singing teaches posture and gives your body a workout
Standing up properly is one aspect of choir that you’ll be glad to see cross over into everyday life; as you develop your singing technique, you will learn to hold your shoulders back and stand taller, too. Furthermore, singing works the entire body, from increasing lung capacity, to strengthening the diaphragm.
9. Singing improves morale and fosters a sense of achievement
Any singer will tell you that being in a choir is so much fun! As well as the shared experience and the laughter, the feeling of accomplishment when you master a new song or conquer your stage fright is an unparalleled high that’s totally addictive.
10. Singing boosts circulation and can help you live longer
We’ve saved the best for last! Singing is an aerobic activity and increases the amount of oxygen in the blood, which in turn increases the amount of oxygen in the brain. This not only makes you more mentally alert, but it’s been proven that taking part in a group activity, such as choir, can add years to your life expectancy.
So what are you waiting for? Why not beat those January blues with a new year’s resolution that will benefit the whole you? Start the next decade the wellbeing way and join a choir!
Raising awareness and Raising money
A new partnership has been agreed between Herefordshire Mind, the mental health charity, and Sing out Strong, an organisation which provides opportunities for people to improve their wellbeing through singing.
For more than 40 years, Herefordshire Mind has been developing and delivering high-quality services with and for people with mental health problems. Affiliated to Mind, the leading mental health charity in England and Wales, Herefordshire Mind believes that everyone should have good mental health and that no-one should have to face a mental health problem alone.
Sing out Strong provides regular choirs, drop-in social-singing sessions, and popup choirs at events, to help the public access singing-based activities. In 2020, new Sing out Strong choirs will be launching in Hereford and the Forest of Dean, as well as across the Borders and South Wales. As well as raising awareness of mental health and singing together for fun and friendship, the choirs will come together in a June for a spectacular fundraising gala in aid of Herefordshire Mind.
Founder of Sing out Strong, Emma Rowland, is a professional Choral Conductor. “I’ve been conducting choirs for 18 years and I also have anxiety and depression. When I was diagnosed in 2018, it was my music that kept me going and helped me focus and move forward. I set up Sing out Strong so that others can enhance their wellbeing through singing. There’s so much research on how singing is good for you and I know, from personal experience, how the socialising and group exercises can make you smile - even when you think you may never smile again”.
David Harding, Support & Development Manager at Herefordshire Mind said: “We are delighted to be working with Emma and her Sing Out Strong Project. Evidence shows the benefits of music for our mental wellbeing and we know that Sing Out Strong will help to create a community to support this whilst also raising vital funds for Herefordshire Mind.”
Sing out Strong is not just for people with mental illness however; everyone is welcome to join the choirs, drop ins and popups, to practice self-care and improve their wellbeing through singing, and Herefordshire Mind invites everyone to visit their premises on Widemarsh Street in Hereford, to find out more about what they do in and for the county.
The two organisations will be working together closely over the coming months. To join one of our choirs, click here. To get in touch with Herefordshire Mind, visit herefordshire-mind.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01432 271643.
Download the full press release here;
With Messages of positivity at christmas
The sixth Christmas Tree Festival will take place at St Mary’s Church in Ross on Wye, between Saturday 23rd and Monday 25th November 2019 - timed to coincide with the town’s Christmas Fayre and switching on of the Christmas Lights.
Sing out Strong will be decorating a Christmas tree for the event, on the theme of wellbeing. Visitors will be invited to leave a positive note for others in the form of a motto, happy memory or Christmas wish, and write it on a luggage tag to be tied on the tree. The idea behind the concept is that the messages will put a smile on the faces of passers by, at this special time.
The church will be open each day from 10.30 am – 5.00 pm from the 23rd to the 25th, with a preview evening on Friday 22nd November. Why not drop by and take a look at this year’s beautiful trees?
For more information about the event, visit https://rawchurch.org.uk/news/christmas-tree-festival/