State of Mind have been exploring choir singing as a means to improve mental fitness with The i-choir in Liverpool and having a song written for the charity and performed by a choir and recorded in a studio

Benefits of choral singing: mental health

Improving memory (and symptoms of dementia too!) – Since learning new songs is cognitively stimulating and requires the use of memory, it has been shown that singing can improve our mental agility and even help those suffering from dementia.

Reducing stress levels and depression – Increasing evidence has been pointing out the mental health benefits of singing. One study lasting for a year involving participants who had been diagnosed with depression found that some of them no longer met that diagnosis following their involvement with a choir.

Being therapeutic – It is not surprising that music has been used throughout history and in numerous cultures during healing rituals. Even today, it is still used as a therapy in our own culture (for example, for the relief of mental illness, breathing conditions, language impairment, etcetera). The fact that basically everyone has the physical ability to sing makes it one of the most accessible forms of music-making, too.

Improving our overall sense of happiness and wellbeing – Singing has also been shown to improve our sense of happiness and wellbeing. Studies have found that people feel more positive after actively singing than they do after passively listening to music, or even after chatting about positive life events. Improved mood probably comes in part directly from the release of positive neurochemicals such as β-endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. In fact, the satisfaction of performing together, even without an audience, is likely to be associated with activation of the brain’s reward system, including the dopamine pathway, which keeps people coming back for more.
It is also likely to be influenced by changes in our sense of social closeness with others.

Broadening social networks – Studies have also shown that community singing leads people to bond with larger groups – a habit that helps people broaden their social networks.

Deepening a sense of togetherness, community, and belonging – Even if we don’t always necessarily talk to everyone in our choir, we might experience a general feeling of being connected with the group, leading to our increased sense of community and belonging.
Research led by psychologist Nick Stewart of Bath University indicates that people who sing in a choir enjoy a greater feeling of togetherness and sense of being part of a collective endeavor than people involved in other social activities.”

Improving our overall feeling of social well-being
A study led by psychologist Nick Stewart of Bath University found that participants in choral singing reported a higher rate of social well-being than solo singers.

Singing in a choir is a fantastic thing, and singing together with other choirs can still multiply this effect a lot and singing together at the Rugby League World Cup in October and November 2022 might be a great way to feel good and sing together.