“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.
“Third Man Records is pleased to share the genius surprise gift they received from their friend MICHEL GONDRY. On his own and without anyone’s knowledge, the legendary filmmaker shot a video for “City Lights,” which he sent them the other night. The video is Gondry’s fifth visual collaboration with The White Stripes. “City Lights” was written for The White Stripes’ GET BEHIND ME SATAN but then forgotten until White revisited the 2005 album for Third Man’s Record Store Day 2015 vinyl reissue and finished the recording in 2016. The track is the first new, worldwide commercially released song by The White Stripes since 2008.”
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 InstituteRead more: American Myths, Smithsonian Magazine
Don’t know why but ever since I was smallI loved the song “The Little Drummer Boy”. This A Capella version is great. (may take a minute to load)
Pentatonix, A Capella
“The amazing A Capella group Pentatonixharmonize to a holiday classic favorite. Sitting on the side of a mountain they make music with their mouth that will take your breath away. Pentatonix found fame during the 3rd season of The Sing-Off and have entertained the world ever since.”