Growing up, my mother and father sang to me. Whether with a lullaby to sooth bad dreams, worship song for morning prayer, or silly ditty to wash me in the bathtub, music has been a huge part of my life. Later, I sang in choir, took voice lessons, and finally made it into the women’s choral at my university.
However, as I began restricting food, my ability to sustain notes and breath properly faded. Soon, each word that I sang sent a shot of pain through my lungs and throat. Wearied and frustrated, I resolved to never use my voice for music again. After all, my eating disorder had ruined any chance that I had as a singer.
Today, however, I decided to open myself by up to disappointment and hope by singing for my creativity blog. The end result left me annoyed but strangely at peace. Sure, I made mistakes and stumbled over my words. My voice is certainly not perfect or angelic. Yet, I gave this challenge my best try and did not fail horridly. That is a step in the right direction.
Singing releases emotions and tension. This makes it a wonderful coping skill. Whatever you are feeling, there is a song out there for you. Are you heartbroken? Perhaps “Somebody to Love” by Queen or “Let Her Go” by Passenger express your feelings. Want to get out anger? Try “So What” by Pink or “Let it Go” from Frozen. Struggling with thoughts of worthlessness? Maybe “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera or “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato are what you need.
The list could go on for a long time. However this coping skill is not simple always. Using your voice can be frightening especially if others are around you. Thus, decide wisely where to practice this skill. Perhaps you are confident enough to do it in front of roommates. Having an audience might give you a sense of accomplishment and the ability to be heard.
Yet, performing for others is not the purpose of this skill. If you do not think that would be helpful, find a safe place to sing. Once you are alone, then let your voice out in whatever fashion suits you best. Perhaps you want to simply hum. Another day, belting out a show tune might help you feel relief.
Not only is it important to choose the right song and place, deciding what other things you need to sing is important as well. Do you need an instrument or i-pod? Will a karaoke version of the song on YouTube give you enough a tune? Are you ok singing with no music at all?
Once you have figured out all of the details, you can finally start using your voice. Instead of judging how well you do technically, try to get the most out of the experience. Let the emotions sweep through you and then leave. Afterward, think about how it helped (or hindered) you.
Using your voice to sing out is terrifying but also exterminating. No matter how musical you are, this coping skill can be enjoyable and helpful for releasing emotions.