I had been struggling with a headache all day since waking up… Tried all my usual remedies, hour after hour, with no relief. I was close to just giving up on productivity for the day just because the head pain was too distracting, when I noticed- it was 8pm. Oh, 8pm! The time has come to drop what I’m doing, step outside, and HOWL!
I stepped out into my backyard, felt fresh air surround me, and the sounds of all my neighbors’ howls flying through it. Opened my mouth, took in a nice deep breath, and LET ONE OUT! What happened after that changed everything…
Immediately after the howl, my headache pressure started subsiding. The tension rinsed out of my face like a fresh wash. I let out 3 more howls for good measure. Sure enough, I stepped back into my home feeling like a whole new woman. Here’s why it works, and why you should try joining the 8pm Howl!
1. Break the Monotony
Many Americans living under Stay-at-Home orders right now are experiencing a mind-numbing First World Problem. The monotony!
With nowhere to go but the other room, and less human interaction to engage us, it’s easy to get pulled down by the tedium of our stay-at-home days. A daily reason to drop what you’re doing and step outside, even if only for a brief moment, can really make a huge difference in breaking the monotony.
The howl is an incredible quick reset for all of your senses. The vibrations of sounds around you (and from within you) are a body-buzzing exhilaration. The feeling of fresh air on your face, and the smell and taste of it as you inhale more deeply, are cooling and energizing. It’s like a zing of wasabi to your evening. Joining the howl is a fantastic way to break up the humdrum of another day at home.
2. Deep Breath Benefit
There’s just no good way to howl without taking in a nice deep preparation breath! If you’ve ever visited a mountain range or hiked up a steep incline, you probably learned first-hand how important your body’s oxygen levels are. So it’s no surprise that the howl community started and spread so eagerly here in my Mile-High City of Denver. Living at a higher altitude has certainly made a difference in how I think about breathing.
Your body will do it instinctively in the split second before you try to howl. You don’t even have to decide to. The incredible benefits of deep breathing are undeniable, but breathing exercises usually require some amount of intention, focus, and effort. Howling, however, comes with the free bonus of being a deep breathing exercise- without the “exercise”!
3. Open the Throat
Your throat connects your head to your body and spreads the vibrations of your voice throughout both. It is the most special musical instrument built right into your body. If you love singing as much as I do, you already know this. But if you don’t, you might just get your own first glimpse of what is “singers high” when you give yourself over to a howl!
The physiological and emotional responses while the body sings (or howls) are like no other. Letting vibrations sail up from your gut on a stream of your flowing breath… resonating your skeleton and tissues… soaring out into the world, and back into your ears once again! It’s enough feelgoodness to make you want to celebrate with the entire animal kingdom…
4. Strengthen your Lungs
Is there any better time to strengthen one’s lungs, than during a global pandemic of respiratory illness? Your lungs work with muscles that need strength training just like all your other muscles, if not more importantly.
Although a few howls a day might be a small step to that goal, it is a step nonetheless. I also highly recommend incorporating more cardio exercise in your days during this pandemic, and of course, not smoking! The better you can strengthen your lungs, the better your chances of successfully fighting respiratory illness of any sort.
5. Connect with Community
Social interaction is sorely missed by many during these Stay-at-Home days. Internet interactions are just not the same as live human presence. And we’re only connecting with those friends or family who we make an extra effort to contact. All those passerby interactions and new social connections of normal life are being pushed 6 feet away, or avoided entirely.
The emotional fulfillment of natural social groups and gatherings feels so far away. But when neighbors respond to our howls, and vice versa, it can remind us of our community, solidarity, human connection, and power in numbers. Unite with your pack!
6. Personal Tribute
Many howlers are sounding their cries for personal reasons. A howl can be a cheer of gratitude to our community’s healthcare workers and first responders. It can sound out our support for those struggling through illness or poverty. Or we can howl out our grief for a lost loved one.
I have been fortunate enough not to lose any loved ones to this illness, but I can tell you that the last time a close friend of mine passed away, I spent weeks desperately screaming “come back!” to him (in the sky’s direction) at the top of my lungs. I imagined that his spirit could hear me, and that his energy could come back to me and stay with me as I cried out for it. It was also an important way to let out the rage and anger that inevitably come in the stages of grief. Every time the tears started to well up I yelled for him. It was a healing part of my grieving. And howling can certainly be a part of yours. I know that entirely too many families are going through that heart-wrenching process right now. Let a full volume vocal release throw your tribute out to the world, and beyond.
7. It just feels good.
Whether it be the extra oxygen of the deep breath, the vibrations of the vocal chords, the sense of community, or something else we can’t put our finger on, there’s no denying that letting out a howl feels. damn. good. Stress relieving, body buzzing, smile stretching, 100% FeelGoodist-approved.
I dare you to try a howl, and not find yourself smiling immediately afterward. Join in at 8pm, and feel good! If/when you’ve tried it, please leave a comment below about your experience. We’d love to hear stories of how different communities are reacting-