Science Shows Art is Doing Something Amazing to Our Health

Art's sweet relationship with the brain and body makes a trip to the museum worth it.

There's no doubt that art has helped shape society. We build galleries that host priceless creations from the world's best talent. People all over the world are familiar with famous paintings such as the "Mona Lisa," and everything from architecture to fashion falls within the realm of art. But beyond simply appreciating the craft and enriching our lives, can science measure the effect art has on us?

Yes, yes it can. Art can do the brain and body some real good, beyond equipping you with dinner party talking points. Here's the breakdown:

Experiencing art decreases stress levels.

A study from the University of Westminster found that participants' stress levels decreased after a lunchtime visit to an art gallery. Participants self-reported their stress levels before entering the gallery and then spent 35 minutes exploring the space in any way they wanted. Upon exiting, they expressed being less stressed. Furthermore, they also had lower concentrations of cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone.

The catch? There was only a decrease in cortisol levels if the visitor came in with relatively high levels. But considering how many of us have hectic work lifestyles and are balancing tons of different things, those with low stress are few and far between.

Plenty of maladies stem from chronic stress, including anxiety, sleep problems and memory impairment. But as the study shows, chowing down on a sandwich while surveying some art can help ward off those health problems... (Read More)