Nan Croney here. I am so excited to share this particular article Marée Zollinger wrote for us because whistling is special to me.
I grew up on a farm listening to Dad whistle every day. I wanted to learn, so he taught me. It didn’t come easily, and I had to try out a lot of “ways” before I found the easy way for me. After reading Marée’s article, it made me understand why I loved it so much, as I was a child who struggled with managing overwhelm.
My husband talks about a carpenter that often did odd jobs for his family. Carmi was a remarkable man and whistler. He could make the most diverse and beautiful sounds, but to him it was just him being happy, and a way to let the family know he was around.
Please enjoy Marée’s article, and if you are not a whistler, you might want to start! From Marée…
Are you a Whistler? Do you know someone who hums everywhere he goes? These are signs of contentment and evidence that one’s mind is at ease. But more than that, whistling can help create a feeling of ease or contentment during moments of stress or pressure. As a result, people who “whistle while [they] work,” as the seven dwarfs advise, actually do a better job!
The effects whistling has on the quality of performance is due to more than just the aforementioned contentment that accompanies it, though happy people generally are more effective workers. Performance also has to do with pressure and how we perceive and respond to it.
Have you ever heard the phrase “to choke under pressure”? What this really means is that the brain has become overwhelmed by all the pieces of information it is trying to process. Dr. Sian Beilock of the University of Chicago calls this, “paralysis by analysis.” In her studies of the brain under pressure, she has found that, “Whistling or singing helps distract the mind from trying too hard and prevents mental overload.” She explains that this is because doing so “helps stop parts of the brain that interfere with performance from taking over.”
So, next time you feel the stress start to build, pucker up and whistle! (Or if you’re not much of a whistler, try humming!) You may find that both contentment and quality work soon follow.
When is your favorite time to whistle and what is your favorite song? Let us know!
Link to source of Dr. Beilock’s research: