The One Month Tune-Up Update: How Does Singing Every Day Affect Our Health and Happiness?

The One Month Tune-Up Update: How Does Singing Every Day Affect Our Health and Happiness?

I believe in singing.” – Brian Eno

It’s been sixteen days since Kaila from In My Skinny Genes and I have started The One Month Tune- Up, to see for ourselves whether singing every day during October can boost our health and happiness, as scientific research suggests. So how’s my singing challenge going so far?

Measurable Results?

To track whether singing regularly can really have a positive impact on our heart rate and stress levels, I’ve been using the free GPS for the Soul app to measure heart rate variability. Heart rate variability refers to the beat-to-beat changes in your heart rate, a good indicator of bodily stress. When you’re healthy, the time gap between your heart beats varies periodically when you’re resting. That’s why a high heart rate variability is considered as a sign of good health, while a decreased heart rate variability is linked to stress, fatigue, and increasing wear and tear.

Now, using an app is not a completely accurate way to measure heart rate variability, I know. ‘Luckily’ I’ve had plenty of medical tests in my life to notice enough similarities between the numbers on my iPad and more reliable measurements in the past.

The good news: My heart rate variability has been ‘in sync’ for the last sixteen days of the One Month Tune-Up. My average heart rate in resting conditions lies between 70 and 80, which is a little higher than the ‘normal’ pulse of 60 to 70 beats per minute reported by the Dutch Heart Foundation. The ‘bad’ news: So far, singing at least one song a day has had no significant effects on my heart rate and (low) stress levels.

Uhm, so does that mean that our little experiment doesn’t have any effects on our health and happiness? Not quite.

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The One Month Tune-Up: Singing Away The Blues in 31 Days | The Health Sessions

The One Month Tune-Up: Singing Away The Blues in 31 Days

Have you ever noticed how belting out in the shower or humming to music during your morning commute can set the tone for the entire day?

Singing doesn’t just make you feel good  – research shows that it even has a surprisingly positive impact on your health and happiness.

A recent Swedish study found that singing in a choir can have the same calming effects as yoga. When people sing together, their breathing patterns and heart rates synchronize, producing a sense of harmony.

But even solo singing sessions can significantly improve your breathing capacity, stress levels and mood. Deep belly breathing and being focused on the music instead of your worries are key elements of reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Additionally, when the musical vibrations move through your body, endorphins and oxytocin are released  – two hormones associated with feelings of pleasure and bonding, less stress and a better mood.

To someone like me who loves to sing and could use a health boost, these findings sound impressive. But over the last few years I’ve noticed that as a ‘responsible grown up’ with a never-ending to-do list, I somehow forget to make time to sing on a regular basis, even though it only takes a few minutes to benefit from the practice.

That’s why I jumped at the chance to team up with the lovely Kaila Prins from In My Skinny Genes to get into the singing habit again with the One Month Tune – Up during October! 

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Kaila Prins about Coping with Eating Disorders: “I see it as a challenge that I want to overcome every single day”

This is the first interview in a series about what it’s really like to cope with chronic illness every day. How do you deal with the physical symptoms, emotional turmoil and practical problems? Today Kaila Prins of In My Skinny Genes shares her story about living with an eating disorder and how blogging about it helped her heal. 

 

Kaila Prins

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a 26 (soon be 27–where did the time go?) year old Marketing Copywriter living in San Jose, CA.  I’m also a certified personal trainer, an exercise addict, and a recovering anorectic. I currently blog about disordered eating and exercise at inmyskinnygenes.com and run the Finding Our Hunger podcast. On the podcast, we talk to everyday people as well as “personalities” about their journey instead of the end point, and we share stories of working through issues of disordered eating, body image, identity, career goals, perfectionism, and building community in this strange, wonderful constantly-changing world.

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How to Relieve Pain Naturally | The Health Sessions

How to Relieve Pain Naturally

Waves of aching pulsing through your brain.

Sharp sensations shooting in your backside.

Intense cramping in your stomach.

Being in pain can seriously ruin your day. It’s no wonder most of us are quick to take a painkiller to stop the aching so we can get on with our lives. But mindlessly popping a pill can carry potential risks that may make you want to consider (complimentary) natural ways to ease your pain.

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What My Favourite Fictional Heroines Taught Me About Battling With Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions

What My Favourite Fictional Heroines Taught Me About Battling With Chronic Illness

Here’s a little secret for healthy readers: Living with a chronic illness can feel a lot like starring in your own action hero movie.

Just like the on-screen stars, you’re faced with seemingly impossible challenges when you have serious health problems. Everyday living can seem like a quest, demanding extraordinary willpower to complete simple tasks and to achieve your goals.

Unfortunately, unlike our movie heroes, in real life you don’t always get inspirational speeches during those moments you’re struggling to hang on. So in my battle with chronic illness, I’ve often turned to action thrillers and epic adventures to fuel my motivation. Now I love all kinds of films, but the movies with a female protagonist literally kicking ass hold a special place in my heart.

Stories about a young blonde girl fighting (her) demons and struggling with the loneliness of being ‘different’? You don’t have to be Freud to understand why I could relate to heroines like Buffy when I first became ill as a teenager.

After countless hours of watching, here are the 5 most important lessons that my favourite fictional heroines have taught me about battling with chronic illness:

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