If you love art, you may already know what scientists are now discovering. Strong connections are being made between viewing or participating in the arts and a reduction in stress, depression, and anxiety. The artistic process puts focus back on the person as a whole, rather than on individual symptoms or chronic illness. Writing, music, and art can rid the brain of cortisol, the stress hormone, allowing the body to relax and heal itself. The American Journal of Public Health reminds us that “through creativity and imagination, we find our identity and our reservoir of healing.”
Experts are also delving further into the study of neuroaesthetics – how the brain responds and processes a work of art. Scientists learned that human brains engage the motor cortex more while viewing art pieces; the brain engages as if it were doing the actions depicted on the canvas. Could this be a contributing factor that helps psychological ailments, like a form of mental exercise? Much more research is needed in this budding field of study.
Here’s an idea to combine art and exercise: Head to the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. Three fine art galleries await you there and the best part is it is all free! After walking through the 10,000 square feet of indoor galleries, absorb some vitamin D outside on a walking tour to five locations on the Arvada Center grounds to view 17 additional art pieces. You are sure to enjoy the stroll and contributions to your health.
If you find you need a bit more help reducing stress, depression, and anxiety, come to a 9Health Fair this spring to speak with a health care professional for free. They will work with you and give you resources to start you on a calmer, more relaxed lifestyle path.