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Whether you can carry a tune or not, it turns out that not only is singing good for the soul, it’s good for the body and mind too. Research has shown that singing can be healthy for our hearts, lungs, and brains because it increases oxygen consumption, improves blood flow, and strengthens the muscles we use for breathing. It can also help us better manage stress and improve our mood because it reduces the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol circulating in our blood and increases the level of feel-good hormones called endorphins circulating in our brains.

Singing may also strengthen our immune systems by elevating blood antibody levels, which are proteins produced by our bodies to fight infection and disease.

If done in a group, singing can improve our social lives and widen our circle of friends. And what better time than now - when the holiday season is in full swing - for some group singing. Why not get together with some friends and new acquaintances and spread some holiday cheer by caroling? According to the British Lung Foundation, due to the workout they give our hearts and lungs, if we include the following five songs in our caroling repertoire we’ll maximize the health benefits: Silent Night, Winter Wonderland, White Christmas, When a Child Is Born, and Let It Snow. To learn more about the health benefits of singing visit http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-mind/stress/article/singing-good-medicine.