A frequent topic of conversation is the crisis of mental health that has sky-rocketed in the last few years. The stress of the pandemic and the subsequent losses and isolation have taken a toll on all of us. As we explore ways to cope with anxieties and other mental health issues, the Bible offers us a tool that is free and easy to use – singing.
I love when science proves God’s Word. With hundreds of references to singing and over 50 direct commands to sing in the Bible, we cannot overlook the emphasis God puts on singing – individually and corporately.
What are some of the proven benefits to our mental health when we sing?
—Our cortisol “stress” hormone is lowered after singing.
—Our endorphin “happy” hormone level is increased, especially when singing corporately.
—Singing or shouting a song helps us feel more relaxed.
—Singing has even been linked to boosting our immune systems.
—Singing promotes a feeling of connection when singing with others.
—Singing helps us deal with emotional pain and grief.
For older adults, even listening to religious music improves self-esteem and decreases anxiety concerning death, according to research.
God created us as “beings” with physical, emotional, mental and spiritual elements. Singing incorporates all of ourselves. How often am I feeling overwhelmed with personal and global concerns? As I begin to sing—in church or personal worship—I feel them lifted and have a sense that God is bearing my burdens and He’s got this. I can trust him even if I can’t understand it.
There was a time when living in Tokyo, I began to experience severe anxiety and panic attacks. As a mother of four children, I could not “hole” up and never go out—as I wanted to. Taking the subway and train, pressed in on all sides by other passengers in a crowded train car seemed to be unbearable. I began to quietly sing hymns and worship songs to myself. I literally had to sing—not hum or think about it. It was the only way I could manage the experience… and by God’s grace, it got me to the stop where I could get off and go about my business.
Worship focuses our gaze on God and who he is, and off of our finite selves. I am reminded that I can trust him with every situation I am facing. Singing plants his Word in my heart and mind and anchors my soul with his peace.
So go ahead… make a joyful noise. Shout to the Lord. Clap. Dance. Cry as you sing. Make it a daily practice and see if it lifts your spirit as it did David’s in the book of Psalms. No prescription needed for this dose of wellness!
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love;
For you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)
Even if you love your life on the field, you will not be given a pass on loss and grief. While everyone experiences loss on the field, not many have a manual on how to handle the loss you inevitably will experience. Until now. In this workshop you answer three key questions to handling the loss you encounter. Get the workshop here.
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash
Great article and wonderful encouragement. Thanks!
Bonnie, Thanks for reading and commenting!
This was such a good read.