Thinking about Christmas caroling with friends or family members? If so, new research says it may improve your mental health. This was the conclusion of a University of East Anglia (UEA) study, led by Tom Shakespeare, a Professor of Disability Research at Norwich Medical School.
According to the study, singing in groups could make you happier and even speed up recovery from a mental health condition. The findings were published in Medical Humanities.
Researchers at UEA examined the Sing Your Heart Out (SYHO) project and focused on two groups with organizers and workshop leaders, in addition to 20 interviews with participants, over a period of six months.
In the findings, participants interviewed by researchers reported relief in their mental health adversities and a ‘feeling of belonging’ following the combination of the singing workshops and socialization with peers. For most participants, their involvement with the singing workshops played a major role in recovering from psychological distress.
“The combination of singing with an inclusive social aspect was regarded as essential in effecting recovery. The lack of pressure to discuss their condition and the absence of explicit therapy was also mentioned by most participants as an important and welcome element in why SYHO worked for them,” according to the study.
“Attendance provided them with structure, support and contact that improved functioning and mood. We conclude that the SYHO model offers a low-commitment, low-cost tool for mental health recovery within the community,” researchers concluded.
Singing workshops, researchers say, could be more effective than group therapy due to its format which applies no pressure to the participant in discussing their condition.