Hey dear readers, I have a challenge for you today. My challenge is that each day for the next week, when you get home from work, or at some other time during the day, you should put on a song that you love and sing along to it.
All it takes is a few minutes. Sounds simple right?
You may have seen articles in the news or online that talk about how singing is so good for you. And it is. It's great for your respiratory system, it's great for your mind (I've heard that the combination of maths and creativity involved is good for making connections across the brain hemispheres??), it's AMAZING for you psychologically, and when done regularly, it can become an invaluable part of your self-care system, keeping you healthy along with yoga, eating good things, etc. etc.
But let's be honest here, that's not really why we sing is it? We don't sing because it's "good for us". We don't coax our friends into a (perhaps drunken) session of karaoke because it's good for our health. We don't join a choir to lower our blood pressure (although it might).
We sing because something truly extraordinary happens when we express ourselves by sending our voices out into the world. It may be a sense of catharsis or of pure joy.
But the problem is that we humans in the modern capitalist world aren't great at doing things just for us. We're great at doing things that contribute to the economy, or to our families, or to our jobs, or to peoples' perceptions of how successful we might be. The more strong-willed of us are great at going to the gym, but often this is more about changing how we appear to others, rather than creating a practice of joy (this is partly why so many new years resolutions fall by the wayside).
So my challenge is that every day after work for the next week (you don't have to do it on weekends if you don't want... I struggle to keep any habit that isn't tied in with the Monday-Friday routine... but if you're feeling extra keen, go for it!), put on a song and sing along. Have a dance as you do it. Make it silly. You can just do it alone in your bedroom if you want - no-one has to know. If your family or housemates are home and you don't want to look like you're taking yourself too seriously, get them involved with it. Choose a pop banger that everyone loves, get into your pyjamas, dance around the house together and sing even louder. Make it stupid. Make it joyful. Make it a habit.
And see what comes up for you when you do this. Is it hard to let go of a day of stress? Is it hard to do something that isn't an obligation? Even though it's only 3 minutes? Does your brain come up with all sorts of ideas about why it isn't possible?
The number #1 rebuttal I get whenever I suggest people make singing a part of their lives is "Oh, I could never do that. I'm not a singer. I can't sing". But you know full well that this is irrelevant. The joy that comes from singing has as much to do with "being a good singer" as it has to do with "it being good for your health". Zilch. It's not about ability, or about the neighbours, or even about singing in tune! It's about joy. Just joy. Just 3 minutes of joy.
I'd love to hear how you go with this if you take up my challenge. I know how "out there" it can feel to do something just for yourself, without justifying it in some way. It's challenging. But give it a go and see what happens!
Love, hugs and encouragement from me. x