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Join a choir, sing your way to happiness?

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FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Singing in a choir might be good for your mental health, a new study suggests.

British researchers conducted an online survey of nearly 400 people who either sang in a choir, sang alone or belonged to a sports team. All three activities were associated with greater levels of mental well-being, but the levels were higher among those who sang in a choir than those who sang alone.

The poll also revealed that choral singers regarded their choirs as more meaningful social groups compared to how athletes viewed their sports teams.

The study, presented Thursday at a meeting of the British Psychological Society in York, England, did not actually show a cause-and-effect link between singing in a choir and being happy, however.

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

"These findings suggest that the experience of using your voice to make music may be enhanced when you feel part of a cohesive social group," he said. "Further research could look at how moving and breathing [in concert] with others might be responsible for creating a unique well-being effect."

Research presented at meetings is typically viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

Mental Health America offers tips on how to live your life well.

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