As I've stated many times, the health of our body IS the health of our voice. We cannot speak or sing with full energy if we don't have that energy available. Good vocal health comes from good physical, mental, and emotional health working in balance with each other. For most of us this ideal state is elusive, because the demands of modern life take their toll on every part of us, and the speed of life often moves too quickly to catch up. Efficiency techniques can help, which is where life hacks come in handy. In the interest of multi-tasking our way toward good physical and vocal health, here are 5 life hacks* that can also positively impact your voice:
1) Morning H20
Wake up, sit up, and drink a tall glass of water. Yes, before coffee! Get ahead with your body's hydration, and you'll feel more energized throughout your day. Your vocal cords are fed by tiny capillaries that need water to maintain robust strength. You might even find that excess throat clearing (bad for your cords!) decreases, as the water thins out extra mucus hanging around in the sinuses and throat. Water up!
2) Deep Breathing Meditation
I designed this one for my clients. There is ample scientific evidence proving that deep breathing brings multiple benefits to the human body. During this process, the parasympathetic nervous system gets triggered and starts to implement its calming, soothing, anti-inflammatory effects. Your voice needs full, robust breath support to be its best, and getting more in touch with your respiratory system will help. Breathe in peace, breathe out calm.
3) Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Any kind of anti-inflammatory lifestyle choices can positively impact your voice. The vocal cords and respiratory system are subject to the same effects of inflammation as the rest of you. Reducing it can greatly improve the clarity, fullness, and power of your voice. An anti-inflammatory diet is a good place to start. Enjoy the taste of good health.
4) Reduce (or Eliminate!) Dairy Products
This one is controversial, but in my experience it's worth considering. For the record, I am a strict "no-dairy" person. Too much dairy can cause excess mucus to form in the ear, nose and throat, and this can all impact your voice in a negative way. Aside from having to constantly clear your throat, your vocal tone can come out muffled and weak. I've observed that my clients' voices clear up considerably after a period of "dairy rest". Dairy has also been linked to digestive, menstrual, and skin issues. If you suffer from any of these, you might want to step back from the pizza and yoghurt. Calcium and probiotic supplements can fill in for things your body might miss.
5) Regular Humming (or Singing!)
A singer takes time every day to warm-up their voice through dedicated vocal exercises. This process is vital to the long-term health and stamina of singers' voices. Public speakers also do some vocal warm-ups that prepare them for their speeches. A good vocal coach can work with you to design specific exercises for your voice (contact me if you'd like a private session: email@example.com). This is a great way to commit to the long-term health and power of your voice. In the short term, try humming! Light, gentle humming keeps your vocal cords active. Music can also trigger good brain chemicals to start flowing, which can greatly improve your mood. Or try full-on singing! Just make sure you're safe from judgmental eyes and ears. My clients sing in the shower, in the car, or in the kitchen when fans are running on the stove. Try it!
*NOTE: consult your doctor before trying any of these