“Happiness Hacks” are quick and easy ways, based on scientific research, to lift your mood. We are compiling them into a book, but want to share them here with you.
In second grade we stood at our desk and sang. EVERY DAY. The teacher traveled the room, bending down to intently listen to each child. Those who were out of tune she tapped on the head to sit down. There were two of us who always got tapped.
From third grade on I silently mouthed the words anytime, anywhere there was singing, terrified someone would hear me.
Now the science is in. Singing is really good for you and the most recent research suggests that group singing is the most exhilarating and transformative of all.
Creating music together evolved as a tool of social living. Groups and tribes sang and danced together to build loyalty, transmit vital information and ward off enemies. (Since I still can’t carry a tune I figure all my enemies have long ago been warded off.)
Caterwauling beautiful music by Peggy
“What has not been understood until recently is that singing in groups triggers the communal release of serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone, and even synchronises our heart beats.”
“Singing helps people with depression and reduces feelings of loneliness, leaving people feeling relaxed, happy and connected. What’s more, the benefits of singing regularly are cumulative. People who sing have reduced levels of cortisol, indicating lower stress.” (The research must have been done on people who could carry a tune. My cortisol levels still go up when singing)
Now the good news (for me) . . .
One of the great things about singing is that you can receive the wellbeing benefits even if you aren’t any good. One study showed that:
“Group singing can produce satisfying and therapeutic sensations even when the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality.”
“The current research into the neuroscience of singing shows that when we sing our neurotransmitters connect in new and different ways. It fires up the right temporal lobe of our brain, releasing endorphins that make us smarter, healthier, happier and more creative. When we sing with other people this effect is amplified.”
I still can’t carry a tune but at least no one . . . so far . . . has tapped me on the head since second grade.
Read the entire article: The Neuroscience of Singing
Marble Machine built and composed by Martin Molin
Video filmed and edited by Hannes Knutsson
Rube Goldberg would be in awe of the engineering complexity in this marvelous music machine that creates sound with 200 marbles! Its wooden parts are carved and Molin built it after drawing the design in 3-D software. It’s programmable, and he can change keys midsong. Take a look at videos about the process of creating the machine on Molin’s website.
You’ll have to go elsewhere if you want beer, back yard bar-b-ques and fireworks for the Fourth of July. More interesting (to me) is Benjamin Franklin’s letter to his daughter, in which he explains his choice of the turkey, a “bird of courage” for the National Bird instead of the an eagle, a bird of “bad moral character” and “a rank coward” to represent the majesty of our great nation:
“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.”
“With all this injustice, he is never in good case but like those among men who live by sharping & robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. He is therefore by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our country…”
“. . . For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.” Franklin Institute Read more: American Myths, Smithsonian Magazine
I leave you with the sublime
Download “Amazing Grace” by Condoleezza Rice and Jenny Oaks Baker on iTunes: http://apple.co/1LElsTB
All proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warriors Project.
Charming, lovely, melodic. take a minute to smell the flowers.
Thanks Linda B.for the uplift!!!!
(inspired by and with apology to Helen Reddy)
I resist the urge to yell at you
Perhaps instead a well placed pout
or conjure up a tear or two
It never helps to ream you out.
I’ve learned it takes less energy
to always smile, no need to taunt
to get exactly what I want
International Woman’s Day
The sentiments therein are mine even if the energy exhibited isn’t.
Older Ladies by Donnalou Stevens