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Singing 'boosts mental health'

Singing in a choir can boost your mental health, a new study suggests.

Researchers carried out an online survey of 375 people who sang in choirs, sang alone, or played team sports.

All three activities yielded high levels of psychological well-being - but choristers stood out as experiencing the greatest benefit.

Compared with the way sports players regarded their teams, choral singers also viewed their choirs as more coherent or "meaningful".

Nick Stewart, from Oxford Brookes University, who led the study, said: "Research has already suggested that joining a choir could be a cost-effective way to improve people's well-being. Yet we know surprisingly little about how the well-being effects of choral singing are brought about.

"These findings suggest that feeling part of a cohesive social group can add to the experience of using your voice to make music. Further research could look at how moving and breathing in synchrony with others might be responsible for creating this effect."

Mr Stewart presented the findings at the annual meeting of the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology in York.

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