The Benefits of Whistling


I’m sure I have annoyed people whilst whistling.  I just hope not too badly.

I can’t remember when I learned how to whistle, or when it became part of my natural rhythm as I walk or load a car or mess with something else.  I typically don’t whistle while I’m typing or working at my desk.

Part of it could be inherited.  I know my granny still whistles – starting bright and early in the morning. She whistles as she cleans, cooks and gets ready for the day.

Sometimes, I whistle songs and other times I just whistle made up tunes, most of which will never be remembered or heard for a second time.

I also know that there are a handful of folks around our church who call me “the whistler.”   I still haven’t determined if they think I’m crazy or if it’s a compliment.  But coming from at least one of them – a guy named Al –  it’s hard to say.

This morning, I did some quick research on whistling. There was actually an International Whistlers Competition until just two years ago when it stopped being sponsored. There are some pretty talented whistlers on there – here’s an example from the 2013 champion.

Have you ever heard someone whistle when they were sad?  Typically, a whistle is a byproduct of being content or happy.

At times, the whistle might even make you believe you are more content than you really are, which will in turn, creates contentment. Other times we whistle to prove to ourselves we are content – especially during tough times.  A small example of this may be when a person is walking through a lonely parking garage at night.  They whistle until they reach their car.  Either way, for the most part, when I’m whistling, life is good.

What does contentment with life bring?

People who enjoy life maintain better physical function in daily activities and keep up faster walking speeds as they age, compared with people who enjoy life less. One study shows that older people who are happier and enjoy life more show slower declines in physical function as they age. They are less likely to develop impairments in activities of daily living such as dressing or getting in or out of bed. This is not because the happier people are in better health, or younger, or richer, or have more healthy lifestyles at the outset. It’s because they have found connections through relationships and they are living more fulfilled lives.  View the study here. 

In another study leading psychologist claims whistling or singing helps distract the mind from trying too hard and prevents mental overload. So often, when we think too hard about what we are doing, we choke.  It can happen in sports, in sales, in presentations and in all areas of life.  Singing or whistling helps distract our minds from overload as we are processing, preparing and working on our project.  It can put us in a more relaxed state. Read more on that. 

So, it’s no wonder that my granny is still so chipper. She whistles!

In case you can’t whistle and you’re interested in trying to learn, here’s a little tutorial.


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