[UPDATE: You can read more about the rules and the reasoning behind the challenge on thehealthsessions.com!]
What if you could literally sing the blues away?
A few months ago, I got in touch with a wonderful blogger out in the Netherlands named Jennifer Mulder who runs a blog called The Health Sessions. Jennifer has lived through her fair share of stressful, painful, exhausting health problems, and the two of us came to a stunning realization about chronic pain, stress, and overall happiness:
We feel better when we’re belting showtunes at the tops of our lungs.
We got to thinking: was this just the magic of Broadway, or was there something deeper going on here? Does singing have the ability to lower stress and take the edge off of chronic pain? Could singing every day be a key to happiness?
I realized that I haven’t sung anything since Les Mis ended in November. Literally. Between starting my stressful/busy new job at a startup, getting the Finding Our Hunger podcast off the ground and onto the airwaves, getting hit by a car, and starting my health coaching program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I haven’t had a moment to breathe, let alone belt. (I also listen to about 15 hours of podcasts a week, so that might have something to do with it…)
So, showtunes aside, Jennifer and I have decided to do a 31 day challenge throughout the month of October: we’re going to sing every single day, and we’re going to measure our stress/pain/happiness response.
Now, I realize that it’s a little difficult to quantify the effects of Aretha Franklin on the body, but I’m going to try to measure the net effect on happiness and health–overall mood, pain levels (in my ankle), and stress. I invested in a relatively cheap heart rate monitor to start measuring my heart rate variability, thinking that I’d be able to get a good, quantifiable measurement of stress over the course of my 31 days.
Of course, Murphy showed up and started flaunting his silly law,* so my heart rate monitor didn’t arrive until the middle of the day yesterday, and, of course, it didn’t work. Huzzah.
And, of course, this happened on the most stressful possible day this week (product launch at work), so I’m starting out with an unmeasurable baseline of stress through the roof.
So I will hopefully have something more measurable and meaningful for you tomorrow (new heart rate monitor pending), but here’s how the month is (hopefully) going to look:
Mood/Pain from the day before:
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this project. Do you sing when you’re sad? What are some of your favorite good-mood songs?
*Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.