Singing for the Soul
All of the benefits of contemplative practices -- calmness, lowering cortisol, reintegrating the brain, improved immunity, and an experience of unity with all that surrounds us, to name a few -- apply when we sing. But there's more: singing incorporates both sides of the brain, it encourages a depth of breathing that usually only happens during sports or activity, and it's basically impossible to stay grumpy while singing. (Bonus: check out these psychological benefits of singing.)
I used to feel really self-conscious about singing. So I joined the choir in high school, which meant that I could sing and nobody would actually hear me. Eventually I came to realize that singing is too important for building community and for my own wellbeing to sing only when it couldn't be detected. That said, I'm still waiting for my first record contract...
But one of the many amazing things about parenting is realizing that the inhibitions related to singing are contextual and cultural: we aren't born afraid to sing. My kids have taught me some of the transformative benefits of singing -- and they couldn't care less if I change keys, miss a rest, or forget a tune entirely.
I hope you'll sing regularly, and sing with gusto!