High-ho, high-ho, it’s off to work we go
by Jill Hewlett Brain Fitness Expert & Wellness Authority
There are many simple activities that do not require equipment or incur cost yet have a powerful and profound effect on your Brain and Body.
Whistling is a perfect example.
While it’s fun to do and has many positive physical, mental and emotional benefits, whistling seems to be a fading art and running out of steam, in our modern-day society.
Do you whistle? Do you hear others whistling around you?
Many of us can easily envision memories of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (except Grumpy Dwarf of course), whistling a happy tune as they set off to work.
Years ago, every second man on the street (and some women) used to whistle. It was even incorporated regularly into TV shows, movies and songs as recent as the 70’s and 80’s.
Co-Author of ‘A Brief History of Whistling’ John Lucas says that whistling used to be common with miners on their way to the pits and workers to and from the factories. There were even whistling choirs on the work buses.
Now, the sound of people whistling has significantly disappeared from modern life. In a survey, around seventy per cent of those questioned say there aren’t as many people whistling today compared with just two or three decades ago.
Why is this?
Some experts conclude it’s due to the demise in working class laborers, including street sweepers, milkmen, delivery boys and coalminers. Add to it, that on construction sites, instead of hearing workmen whistling as they work, radio tunes fill the airwaves instead.
Cultural historian, Chris Cook at Syracuse University London told the Sunday Times: “Go into the streets, into the workplace and it’s silent. It’s nothing like it was a few decades ago when you would hear people whistling tunes everywhere.”
To top it off, many people are using earphones and portable music players to listen to music, so they don’t need to make their own tunes. Software such as iTunes is replacing the real “I”-Tunes.
Yet, for those who still engage in this simple activity of whistling, they can easily detect the positive effects that occur Classic FM broadcaster, Catherine Bott, said that whistling can be ‘relaxing for people who’ve got a lot going on in their brain’. On a personal note she added that for her, it’s a concentration aid, valuable distraction from background noise, and much easier than singing.
While some associate it with an empty head, whistling is more cerebral that you may realize and it’s scientifically proven to be a valuable cognitive activity that can stimulate, grow and recreate your brain!
In the book, A Brief History of Whistling, by Lucas and Chatburn, they uncover enough evidence to prove that whistling is in fact an art form, one requiring practice, discipline and dexterity.
When is the last time you whistled? Give it a shot! You will likely discover that it does some great things like shifting your mood, putting some pep in your step and refreshing your focus.