‘Tis the season to…sing!
I think this really is the most special time of the year, particularly because of the holiday music! Music and singing have been part of my life since the sixth grade, when I became involved in the school choir at the urging of my wonderful music teacher. Singing plays such an important role during the holidays and it has some amazing effects on our wellness.
Holiday music inspires us to raise our voices and creates a fun sense of camaraderie when we gather spontaneously around a piano to belt out “Jingle Bells,” “Over the River and Through the Wood,” or any other favorite carols. Those who routinely sing together in a group, as when part of a chorus, know it creates a tight social bond as every voice works together to create a harmonious sound. (Shout out to the JourneyCare Choir, which includes staff members from throughout our agency!) Even singing in your car to favorite holiday songs on the radio can be uplifting!
Singing has health benefits too. Not to get too serious, but the benefits of singing have been documented. A choral group was studied by the National Institute of Health and it was found that cortisol levels were reduced, showing that singing reduces stress while producing an overall boost to mood and the immune system. JourneyCare board-certified music therapists and professional music-thanatologists use a range of musical techniques to help hospice patients relax and express feelings, and to ease suffering at the end of life.
Singing strengthens airway muscles and improves heart health too, according to Frontiers in Psychology. As we sing we take slower, deeper, purposeful breaths, which has an overall soothing effect on the heart, decreasing overall heart rate variability.
The power of singing holiday music cannot be denied! Whether we sing a jolly, happy tune or we sing sacred music during worship, singing evokes strong memories that may be of lighthearted moments, bittersweet milestones or thoughtful, reverent times. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” always leaves me happily remembering loved ones and “O Holy Night,” my very favorite Christmas song to sing and listen to, brings me to tears as I feel the majesty and beauty of the music and words.
As I prepare for and anticipate December 25 amid the expectant hustle and bustle, I always take in and try to truly experience all of the wonderful sights and sounds of Christmas and the holiday season ̶ as I continue to sing with and for those I cherish.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
Tune into 93.9 LITE FM for around-the-clock holiday music through the new year. JourneyCare is thrilled to team with 93.9 and iHeart Radio this holiday season to share our message of expert, compassionate care to listeners throughout the Chicago region.