Tis the season for Christmas caroling at the top of our lungs with loved ones. Before allowing anyone to ruin holiday spirits with judgments on your vocal abilities, scientists have evidence that group singing considerably improves fitness.
According to a recent study out of the University of East Anglia in England, Christmas caroling could aid in lasting improvements to mental health. In the experiment, researchers followed 120 individuals in the Sing Your Heart Out (SYHO) project for six months. The organization was founded as a means of community bonding, especially for those with disorders who may otherwise not have access to such outlets.
Participants attended free workshops each week and took part in evaluations with the scientists. What scholars found was that chorales expressively improved psychological well-being and recovery. The analysis highlighted that SYHO especially diminished signs of anxiety and depression, with many noting the initiative as a “lifesaver.” Surprisingly, all involved in the program documented improvements following their time in the organization.
In an interview with Neuroscience News, lead researcher Tom Shakespeare detailed what he believes to be the primary contributor to the results:
“There’s very little pressure because the participants are not rehearsing towards a performance. It’s very inclusive and it’s just for fun.”
Shakespeare adds that the SYHO format may be superior to group therapy, as attendees are not required to discuss their diseases with others. Instead, the program encourages socialization, teamwork, and support; and not to mention the joy of singing favorite tunes.
The implications surrounding the conclusions may be of immense value to Americans. According to the latest statistics on the prevalence of mental illnesses among U.S. adults by the National Institutes of Health, 17.9% experience a psychological ailment in a given year. Furthermore, NIH calculates that over one in five children either currently or at some point in life suffer from a “seriously debilitating” mental condition.
The most common among adults were anxiety syndromes, whereas for children it was attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The startling data may lead many to question the culprits of the seemingly mounting deterioration of psychological fitness in our country.
Such instances may be primarily due to the progress of science, with researchers and physicians better able to identify and diagnose the conditions. Furthermore, Liberty Nation reports that increased cases of ADHD among youth could be the result of maternal consumption of the painkiller Tylenol during pregnancy.
Author Dr. Jean M.Twenge suggests heightened economic stress and usage of smartphones and social media may account for the worsening. In fact, in one of her studies published by Sage Journals, it was found that activity on the entertainment software significantly correlated to rises in depression and anxiety. Additionally, financial hardship accounts as one of the chief causes of the symptoms by raising cortisol levels in the brain, which damages systems responsible for emotional regulation, as reported by LN.
The social interactions and sense of teamwork provided by the SYHO project offers a positive means of coping with economic instability and permits interpersonal communications that our tech-heavy society may otherwise avoid.
The results from East Anglia encourage all to indulge in Christmas caroling this holiday season. Perhaps doing so will aid in ending the startling symptoms currently impacting millions in our beautiful country. Regardless of one’s vocal talent, Liberty Nation wishes readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.