National Choral Singing Week in association with Mental Health Ireland – October 2016.

choral-week-mental-health-weekNational Choral Singing Week in association with Mental Health Ireland is taking place this week from 10th to 16th October 2016.

20161012_104024We would like to thank Catherine Power and the Edmund Rice Choir for performing at Johns College, Waterford on 12th October to mark the occasion.

Choral events are being organised all over the country by choirs, schools and other groups to mark World Mental Health Week and to highlight the fact that choral singing is good for your mental health!

Group singing has been scientifically proven to lower stress, relieve anxiety, and elevate endorphins. The release of these endorphins can leave you feeling completely rejuvenated.

How group singing can help promote mental wellbeing

Positive feelings: Singing has been shown to be a joyful and uplifting experience. It generates a sense of positive mood, happiness and enjoyment. Such positive feelings also counteract feelings of stress or anxiety and help to distract people from internal negative thoughts and feelings.

Expectation and hope: Enjoyable activities such as singing with others are things people will look forward to each week. They can become highlights of the week and positive memories remain alive for hours and days afterwards. Where an activity involves working towards a goal such as a performance, there are enhanced expectations of rewarding outcomes.

Self-belief: A change of identity can occur for people with mental health issues by participating in group singing, from thinking of themselves as choir members. This can raise a sense of self-esteem and confidence and performance events can bring a sense of social recognition and status. Performances help to reduce stigma and labelling by others.

Abilities and skills: Confidence is brought about by the ability to repeat previously learned tasks or skills (including social skills), with a high degree of accuracy. Successful skills might also help to improve success in new, related skills, when tried for the first time. Learning new songs or harmonising parts of songs, can help concentration and focus, and stimulate learning and memory. Concentration can also provide a distraction from other concerns, leading to respite from them.

Social support and networking: Singing in a group offers the opportunity to build social capital, encourage social inclusion and raised status of the members, and creates an opportunity for communities to come together.

Organisation and structure: Structure is something that is easily lost when ill. People can feel adrift and disconnected. Having the purpose and goal of attending a weekly group can be motivating and create an anchor upon which other weekly activities might build.

Posted: October 2016