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Scared of using your Voice? The Vagus Nerve and Singing Memories

As a human instrument, Singing brings together parts of our physiology and psychology.

So it is no surprise that it can bring about feelings of vulnerability and fear.

There's a totally "normal" body-related reason for this:

Singing engages areas of the respiratory system, the larynx, and the nasopharynx (a mouthful, huh!), much of which is innervated by the Vagus Nerve; our longest cranial nerve, reaching from our brain, through the neck, the heart, and all the way down to our abdominal organs.

It is known that singing stimulates this nerve, and as a component of our autonomic nervous system, has influence over our parasympathetic (calm response) and sympathetic (fight, flight or freeze) response.

Singing can hack a reactive response by bringing purposeful attention and nerve stimulation through vocalisation, regulated breathing and controlled voice-use.

So, if singing is supposed to make us feel calm, why does it still feel so scary?

Well, it's a complicated thing!

Remember how I mentioned that singing brings together physiology and psychology?

It is most likely that it is the environment and fear of the unknown that is freaking you out. It may be a deep-seated memory of a poor singing experience, where embarrassment or shame took place. Even something as simple as singing at a staff party, or at the school music class as a child, can impact us.

It is for this reason that our studio firmly avoids pushing people - especially young people - to perform when they are not ready, or interested.

Instead, go slow, if you wish to move out of a place of fear, and into to a place of confidence. We promise it will happen! Having a caring and non-judgemental environment helps immensely.

Singing alone helps! And of course, experiencing new, and fun, memories with singing, can feel very validating.

Scroll down to explore this playlist of music tracks. You can hum, sing "ooh", and attempt to follow the music as best as you can.

Aim for 3 practice sessions of 1-2 mins, over 3-4 weeks. You will feel a difference.

Perfection is not the goal here - pure enjoyment is. Have fun!

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