Improved mental and physical health
Have you ever wondered about the benefits of joining a choir? Do you want to join a choir but feel too anxious? Read how singing has helped choir members.
Singing together makes you feel good about yourself, and feel good about the group you are part of. I’m an example of these amazing benefits.
In the past I suffered with anxiety and depression. This got really bad and, at one point in my life, I had a bit of a breakdown with ongoing panic attacks and both chronic and acute anxiety. My breakdown was at a time when I wasn’t singing, so it was with some apprehension that I joined a new choir, once my symptoms stabilised.
I can’t emphasise enough how it’s helped me and still does. Singing teaches you different ways of breathing and breathing techniques. You learn to use your breath and body very fully and harmoniously, and this really helps me breathe and move and feel better.
Singing’s good for the soul but it’s also scary. I welcome the challenge of putting myself in situations that initially make me nervous, to see how far I can come.
Being in choirs when I was younger was a gateway to finding my voice and confidence. It allowed me to gain skills and ability, but also self-belief.
I gave up singing for a long time, and missed it terribly. I’d convinced myself that the singing chapter of my life had closed. So I was extremely nervous about attending Brightsoul, mainly because of the social aspect and not having accessed my ‘proper’ voice for so long.
Just attending the first session gave me a confidence boost— a low-key reminder that I can do things that scare me and nothing bad will happen. The confidence gained from everything we did in the first term ripples through my day-to-day life. If I can sing solo, then I can speak to my boss about an issue. Or I can stand up in front of a room at Uni to give my thoughts.
As an adult I suffer from anxiety. It tends to manifest physically, in what feels like a restriction of my throat and shortness of breath. After speaking to a doctor to confirm this wasn’t actually happening, but is just what anxiety feels like for some people, I began to trust the knowledge I have of my body and my breathing that I gained through singing.
I’ve found singing to be the single best reminder of my body’s capacity to breathe deeply and efficiently—which not only helps my singing technique, but reminds me of what to focus on in times of panic or stress.
Being in a choir has had an incredibly positive effect on my emotional and physical health. I first joined a choir in 2012 following a difficult marriage break-up involving domestic violence which left me emotionally damaged with a diagnosis of mild PTSD.
Having been a confident and outgoing person, I found I was suffering with anxiety and riddled with self-doubt.
I’m from a very musical family and had wanted to join a choir for some time but worried I wasn’t good enough and that people might be unkind to me. A friend had been in a local soul and gospel choir for a few years and spoke really highly of it. I saw a video she posted of her first ever solo at a performance and decided it was definitely worth a go.
I was quite nervous at my first session but everyone was really friendly and I realised I could pick things up fairly quickly. The feeling was amazing, and the feel-good factor seemed to last for days afterwards.
I began singing more at home too, which I’d stopped when I became involved with an abusive partner. It was like finding a part of myself I’d forgotten.
After my first choir performance, I realised I’d also made a lot of new friends. This was a huge deal to me as I’d become quite lonely going through my divorce. I’d become a heavy smoker and as breathing is so important when you sing, I was motivated to give up after being in a choir for about a year. I really notice how much better my breath control is now and how much better my singing voice has become.
My experiences of being in a community choir have helped me hugely. I’ve achieved things I thought I could never do and ended up feeling extremely proud. During a recent interview I had to give on Radio 4, I was able to centre myself and find the space I needed by concentrating on my breathing. It gave me the confidence I needed to take the leap and “just do it”.
If you would like to sing contact Amanda Mitchell to talk about joining a choir.
*The names in these stories have been changed to protect our members privacy