Six ways art is amazing for mental health

As an art lover, artist, or both, we know we feel so much better when looking at or creating art. But why?

Here are six reasons that answer that question.

1. IT’S A LOVE THING

Do you perhaps need a little bit of love? The University of London conducted a study that showed when a person views a piece of art that they consider beautiful, there is an instantaneous release of dopamine, a chemical that is linked to feelings of love, into the brain.

2. THE POWER OF CREATIVITY

Exercising our creativity can give us an outlet from our daily routines, helping us express emotions and boost our happiness levels.

Participants in a 2014 study who produced art demonstrated: ‘a significant improvement in psychological resilience’ as well as increased levels of ‘functional connectivity’ in the parts of the brain responsible for introspection, self-monitoring and memory. While creating a healthy state of mind it also reduces stress, distracts from our worries and helps build self-esteem.

3. JUST CHILL

The next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious, try taking a step back and looking at a piece of art.  It can be a piece you have in your home, in a book, or even one that you pull up on your phone or computer.  Take five minutes and really look at the piece, considering the colours, the perspective, the setting, the subject, and anything else you notice, and really think about it.  Chances are, at the end of your five minutes, you’ll feel better than you did before.

4. AN ART STATE OF MIND

When you’re looking at a new piece of art, your brain starts looking for patterns, shapes, and anything else that is familiar to make you feel more connected to the piece.  Even if you don’t “get” it, your brain is still going to work, trying to find meaning in what you’re looking at.

5. ESCAPE BACK IN TIME

Art has existed for nearly as long as humans have existed. By looking at art from a different time, you’re transported to the time and place that the artist has depicted and that helps your brain make you feel as if you’re doing a little bit of escaping. The next time you step into a museum, think of it as time-traveling instead!

6. BREAKING BLOCKS

One study found that a single hour in an art gallery changed how people thought and felt. The subjects of the study exhibited improved critical thinking skills, increased empathy for how people lived in the past, and improved tolerance for people different from themselves. The next time you’ve got a brain-block, looking at art just might help to clear it up!

With the new HOTA Gallery now open, and Art Lovers Australia operating both online and physically at the Brickworks in Southport, there’s no excuse not to get out and get amongst some incredible art. What are you waiting for?

Be first to comment