During evolution, nature awarded a human-being with a unique ability to enjoy practically anything. Love, food, communication with your own kind trigger special hormones that make us happy. The human body is packed with mini-laboratories that produce serotonin, endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin.
Say, you bumped into a good friend you haven’t seen for ages. You’ve got a shot of endorphins. A baby is chirping easily some sweet little things during dinner? Enjoy your portion of oxytocin. You’ve just tasted a piece of chocolate cheesecake in a new cafe? It is seasoned with serotonin. Do you have one jumping-in-a-sack race at your corporate party? Here is a cup of dopamine.
But there is a fly in the ointment, of course. Free access to these legal “drugs”, produced by our body, sometimes leads to severe abuse and can be damaging both physically and psychologically. For instance, most of the serotonin, responsible for emotions, is produced in the stomach when we are eating something tasty or enjoy sunbathing. The lack of this hormone can lead to depression.
This is how the brilliant nature wanted to teach us to eat healthy food and get out into the open air for a vitamin D portion we need. It couldn’t dream that one day, a human-being would invent high-calorie cakes and fast food with trans fats. If our internal breakers are out of order, we know no limit in consuming sweet and fatty food, to stuff ourselves with ice cream to forget our problems. Mother Nature had no idea we would reject vegetables which natural taste pales against a piece of brownie or French fries.
This is why you need to go to the karaoke club right away!
Dopamine addiction can be even riskier. Dopamine is not just a “happy hormone” but also an “endorsement hormone” for our actions. It is a reward for effort and risk. You win a card game – you “endorsed” your victory with dopamine. Besides, this hormone leads to far more serious addictions, related to gambling and computer games. When mixed with adrenaline, dopamine may even push you to harmful or life-threatening actions.
For instance, the death toll of BASE jumping, an extreme sport of jumping with a special parachute from the roofs or antennas, reached 400 people within four decades. It is a very dangerous activity, however, it rewards those who practice it handsomely with dopamine. So, year in and year out, it gains more and more disciples who seek as high a peak as they can find.
There are so many different joys in this world but very few of them available at any age and any level of training – very few ones that wouldn’t ask for considerable investments or be safe even if “abused”. According to some psychologists, shopping, everyone’s new favorite activity, is good for stress relief. However, it is limited to the sum in your wallet and has a potential danger of mental disorders, such as compulsive shopping. Let alone consumerism – one of the reasons for nowadays ecological disasters.
To sum it up, the choice of what to enjoy in the modern world is the search for the balance between something useful and harmful, between desire and punishment. For instance, to eat a creamy cake with a friend late at night, but exhaust yourself during cardio exercising the next morning as you have to make it up for the extra carbs you consumed.
But are there pleasures that have no negative effects? Something that emerged at the dawn of civilization and was developing together with it? For example, communication with one another. Have you ever thought of the extent to which our society is built around communication? Eye-to-eye business negotiations, long telephones talks between sweethearts, conversations with a therapist which bring relief and help to heal.
One of the most ancient forms of communication which allegedly emerged even before speech was singing. Using sounds, linked into a pre-historic proto-melodic structure, early human-beings could display quite a wide range of emotions, share information, and express how they felt.
Later came the music, which could initially be presented as a rhythmical beating of a stick against an empty log accompanied by the sounds, produced by people. Dancing finalized the basis of the prehistoric interpersonal and tribal communication as a logical continuation of singing and music.
Music is closely connected with our deepest systems of reward. In fact, we are born with the love to sing, and most of the studies prove that when we listen to someone’s singing, our body releases dopamine. These days, nobody questions the fact that music helps to overcome stress, release pain. Music therapy is widely used in practice. Karaoke and chore singing is even used for the prevention of senility.
When a person is singing, his or her lungs get enriched with oxygen as much as during jogging; the brain and body gain energy, and thanks to that it is easier for us to improve our mood, cope with difficult tasks, and focus during a considerable period of time. It results in better blood circulation, normal heartbeat and blood pressure, improved general wellness, headache relief, and better complexion.
Micro vibrations going through every cell during the signing, too, have a positive effect on the entire body. It has been observed long ago – there is a reason why in all meditative and healing practices (from the shamanic ritual in the Far East to the ceremonies of the Australian aboriginal tribes), singing served as a tool to put people into trans and heal from many diseases.
But what counts most is that singing is available for absolutely everyone. You don’t need to buy any special equipment or save for new fitness equipment for years, as you can sing just in your shower. It doesn’t take any special skills, body shape, or years of exercising. Even speech disorders are not a no-go for a karaoke party – John Scatman who suffered a bad staggering is the best proof of it.
For children with speech disorders, singing is one of the ways to improve their verbal skills and come out of the shell. It is also a source of good mood, self-confidence, somatic stabilization, and personality harmonization. Moreover, music and singing are good means of self-expressing if other abilities are limited.
Signing is a useful and healthy joy that implies continuous growth and development. There are always new highs of self-improvement to reach, many new singing skills to gain, the voice range to expand, and more complicated songs to perform. You can step out of the comfort zone of your living room or home-based karaoke and go to a karaoke club to challenge yourself on the big stage in front of a large audience. This will give you a mixture of adrenaline and dopamine – something that extreme-sport lovers experience.
We all have an access to the endless sea of joy and peak of emotions we feel since the day we are born and for the rest of our lives. We are born to sing and be happy. We sing to share our feelings with the entire world. We sing to tell everyone that we’re overwhelmed with happiness. We sing because we can’t help singing.