A little bit of stress is a good thing - it keeps us alert and motivates us to perform well. But all too often the trials of life can get to us. Our distress may be obvious for all to see or it may be hidden, known only to us. Either way, good emotional health is something that we should all strive for and that we all deserve.
Can we sing our way to happiness?
There is growing evidence that belting out a song can lower stress levels. Swedish scientists recently found that singing triggers the release of happy hormones such as oxytocin which boosts mood and lowers stress and blood pressure. And in a study from the UK, experts discovered that men and women with mental health issues who sang regularly in a choir benefitted emotionally. In fact, some participants who had been clinically depressed, were no longer depressed eight months after singing with the choir. Reason indeed for singing in the shower.
Does the herbal remedy St. John's wort treat depression?
St John's wort is a plant with star-shaped yellow flowers that is commonly thought to help alleviate the symptoms of depression. In a German study, when St John's wort was tested against a common anti-depressant, more people were found to improve using the herbal remedy than the anti-depressant drug. However, not all studies have reached the same conclusion - some have found that it's no more effective than a placebo - and the remedy is not currently supported by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).