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Fear of Singing or Fear of Bears?

I read one time that public singing can feel as scary as being chased by a bear.

Now, in a quick google search, I was unable to find comparable statistics on death by bear vs. death by singing but I'll venture a guess that the bears have a slight advantage. Being chased by a bear would DEFINITELY be very scary and ABSOLUTELY very life-threatening.

But, it's weird that the body would have the same response to something like singing which is ABSOLUTELY NOT life-threatening in any way. In fact, it's good for you! Being chased by a bear is decidedly not.

So, why is it that singing can create a very real fight or flight response in the body and brain for some people?

Singing is just about the closest a person can get to sharing one's own humanity with the world. Music itself is a way to express emotion and doing so with an instrument in hand is a great way to do it! Making music with one's own voice is a completely different ball game. It's literally personal.

Sadly, many of us were burdened by a negative comment or opinion about our voice at some point during our formative years. Perhaps that feedback came in the form of an annoying classmate in elementary school or a well-meaning family member or an exceptionally misdirected teacher (do not get me started here...).

All children love to sing. For many adults, something happened along the way to cause them to stop doing that thing they loved.

Unfortunately, any type of negative feedback about something so personal as one's voice gets deeply implanted in our psyche. That feedback can result in shame and embarrassment which are intensely unpleasant emotions as they create that fight or flight feeling in your brain. Evolutionarily, this response to shame was likely critical to survival.

But, we are no longer cave people. And we are not being chased by bears.

Fortunately, positive feedback works in the same part of your brain. Favorable responses inform a person that they're doing something right and suggest one should keep doing that thing for survival.

Singing with a group is a great way to get positive feedback and gain confidence in your voice. When a group sings together, the voices blend into one sound. Nobody is singled out. We create something bigger than one voice could produce alone. And it sounds good!

Humans are built to sing. Every person can do it. It is our birthright and one of the great joys of life.

If you have been struggling with that "chased by a bear" feeling, you might try singing with a group of adults in the backroom of bar. The more you do it, the more positive feedback you will receive, and before you know it, you will be singing from the rooftops. It's going to feel AMAZING!

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