How Singing Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Hi again,

When I was younger (in my teens) I used to sing almost everyday after school before my parents came home from work, because I have always been a bit shy about singing in front of others, although I’ve gotten much better at it:) But the last few years I haven’t been singing as much and have been more stressed out, so I realized that some of that could be because I’m not singing. So, I have now downloaded Smule’s karaoke app and am singing almost every day and trying to become a better singer as well as a more relaxed person by using breathing and relaxation techniques for singers. Always great when you get a “2 for 1” deal!

So, I just started looking up breathing excercises for singing online because I have a terribly low lung capacity (we measured it in an anatomy class I took once and compared to the other students). Now, a part of the reason for this is because I am a small-ish person, not veeery small, but smaller than the average northern-european girl, which means my lungs are smaller than probably the majority of my class mate’s. Thus, it’s not a big deal, BUT I have always loved to sing and have noticed that recently I’ve become out of breath easily whilst singing and cannot sing particularly loud or hold notes for very long. Since I know that one can excercise the lungs to take up more air in “one go” I thought that I probably should look into this and also look into how to relax my throat and neck more when singing as I get really hoarse and tense after just a little while.

I found a really good vocal coach on youtube (follow this link to see the video) and he taught me some really helpful techniques for relaxing my muscles when singing and how to expand my lungs properly (keep in mind that it takes a while to get good at it and to really notice the differences, but for me it helped a little already after the first session).

As I am a very stressed and anxious person most of the time, I find that I usually am really tense in the neck and shoulders as well as around my stomach and chest. So, I have this feeling of holding my breath sometimes, I believe I do this quite a lot without noticing because I’m so used to it, but whenever I notice I try to do some breathing excercises to relax and sometimes working out those tense muscles can also help exhaust them so that they will “let go”.

Anyway, what I wanted to say is that I just realized that singing and learning how to breathe properly and learning relaxation techniques for singers is really good for stressing down and for reducing anxiety because you will not only learn how to breathe in a calmer and more efficient way and to make it become natural to you with time (which often is the goal of many “how to get rid of anxiety now”-videos), but you will also get rid of some of that built up tension and negative energy that anxiety and stress brings by singing and “letting it all out” in a way.

That is something a therapist I once saw told me anyway, that I believe is true, that a lot of anxious/stressed people keep a lot of emotions inside and don’t yell out loud or similar when hurt or when angry like some others e.g.. That is very true for me at least and he says that by yelling you release that tention right away, rather than letting it stay inside you and build up… And I’m not saying it’s easy to go from a quite “ow” (or insert your favourite swear word) to a ” FOR !$%$#’s SAKE!!!!” or similar in a few days, but if you at least sometimes remembers and let it all out for a second every now and then, it helps a lot, at least for me 🙂

I think this “keeping everything inside” thing comes from the fact that a lot of anxious people (I mean people with anxiety disorders) are not very spontanious and they like to plan things and always think about things for ages before they decide on what to do or say to make sure they choose the “best option” all the time… And after years and years of doing that I guess it becomes hard to just suddenly scream out loud because you’re mad or something… Being spontaneous is something I really struggle with, especially when it comes to friends asking if I want to do something “right now”, I just panic and usually say “no”, because I feel like that’s the safest option, even though I often regret it later… But that’s a whole other story that I’ll talk more about later if you want 🙂

OK, I side-tracked quite a bit there, sorry about that…. Not very good at keeping to the topic, but hey, that’s just my style I guess 😛

Talk to you soon,

Sophie X




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