According to a Swedish study featured on the Huffington Post, singing with a group may not only give you a sense of well-being, but also a calmer and healthier heart.

Researchers from Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University monitored the heart rates of a high school chorale as they performed. Surprisingly, not only did every member’s heart rate slow down, but their hearts also started beating in unison based on the song’s tempo. This led researchers to consider that group singing may also promote closer social connections.

“When you exhale [as you sing], you activate the vagus nerve, we think, that goes from the brain stem to the heart. And when that is activated, the heart beats slower,” musicologist and lead researcher Björn Vickhoff explains.

Singing in a choir is also said to be similar to doing yoga, as the controlled breathing necessary in both activities may improve both your heart health and your blood pressure. So if you’re sad or stressed, try singing. Better yet, try singing with your friends. A little vocal exercise may just be the thing you need to uplift your spirits.

(Photo by bigbirdz via Flickr Creative Commons)

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