Make a Joyful Noise

A secret that helped me heal after a death in our family.

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A secret that helped me heal after a death in our family.

Two weeks ago my classy, practical Grandmother died! I always imagined my 98 your old grandma, would pass away peacefully. However, her death was definitely not peaceful, and the circumstances that lead up to her death were distressing and they are taking me sometime to process.

She placed all of her financial power in the hands of her two remaining sons, and to save money for themselves, they removed all of her caretakers. My sister, my mother and myself struggled to take care of her in the remaining months of her life. We made some peace with some relatives the night before she passed, but there were a lot of bad feelings to go around.

Grandma Ruth

After grandma died and all the condolences were made, everyone was ready for me to get back to my old, happy self. I was struggling to feel like myself. I was struggling to work or take care of my family, or even just to smile. I just felt empty. Grandma was a huge part of my life and now she is gone.

I work as a choir director and I sing in a band with my sister called Shanti Shanti. I still had to go to work, even though I really didn’t feel like it. My work involves a lot of singing and there is a huge sense of community among the choir members I work with. The odd thing is that I noticed that every time I would return home from work, I felt so clear and balanced, and even happy. I felt like me! Wow! Could this help me through the grieving process?

Singing, and especially singing with a group, makes you happy!

With so much evidence, it is worth a try!!

1.Prove It! Science has shown that singing, especially coral singing, releases endorphins and reduces cortisol in our bodies. In a recent article, in the Pacific Standard, two psychologists from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, shared their research in the Journal of the Psychology of Music where they tout the physical and psychologically mindful effects of singing in a choir, known as the “choir effect”.

2.Good Vibes! In an article in Scientific America blog titled “The Hippies Were Right: It’s All About Vibrations, Man!” The article shares that “all things in our universe are constantly in motion, vibrating…resonating at various frequencies.” Singing raises your vibrations, and in order for you to sing, your whole body as to resonate. This brings you into a state of harmony; pun intended! 🙂

3.Finding Yourself! When you are brought into a state of harmony you can feel yourself again. You get to know yourself in this new state. Singing is like setting the restart button on our minds and bodies. That is very healing.

4.Distraction! Singing and the people singing with you, are a huge distraction. Winston Churchill said, “When going through hell, keep going”. The best way to get through this time is with distraction. Making music and talking with fellow singers is very distracting.

Don’t take my word on this. Give singing a try; even if you think you can’t sing! Your vocal chords are just a muscle, and so the more you work them, the better they sound. Find a church or community choir to join. They will be grateful to have you, and you will find that you have a whole new support system. Find a kirtan or chanting group and sing with them. With this yoga- like group, you will get the benefit of singing and the healing power of chanting mantras too. Mantras are usually in Sanskrit and their amazing physical and psychological benefits are expounded on in a recent article in

Notice how you feel with any of these musical routes. Of course you can always sing by yourself too; the car, the shower, any place. If you would like to learn a mantra to sing to yourself, please click here.

I still miss my grandmother, but I am starting to feel more like myself. This clarity is helping get my life back in order. I am still sad, but now I know how to give myself a reprieve from these feelings.

I am kindly reminded of the old psalm “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song” (psalm 98:4) I didn’t realize that was such a good idea.

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