Taking in some contemporary art has the power to change more than your walls. Looking at art provides you with the potential to de-stress and heal more quickly, and spending a few minutes experiencing fine art that resonates with you can positively impact the pleasure centers of your brain and change how you think. Visual art can also be a valuable tool for increasing productivity and your well being at work.
Below are just four ways that living with art can bring positive change into our lives for the better.
1. Art Offers an Escape From the Everyday
The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, take in some art to de-stress and inspire you. Idyllic tree-dotted landscapes and water scenes can be especially effective for encouraging relaxation, explains Jacinta Francis at Psychology Today. When you can’t get away to recharge, looking at some nature art or a landscape painting in blues and greens may be the next best thing.
(Image: Water lilies Painting, an original impressionist water scene by Saatchi Art artist Anastasiya Valiulina.) You can visit Saatchi Art’s new Inspired by Monet and Impressionism collection to see more like this…
2. Art Makes Good Medicine
Immersion in art can help you heal. The UK-based organization paintings in hospitals found that medical centers experienced an increase both staff satisfaction and patient health and happiness when contemporary art was introduced into the hospital environment. Studies showed that displaying original art in health centers also meant a shorter hospital stay and less medication for some patients.
When you want to feel better, pick up a brush or pen for yourself. Per a recent article by James Clear via The Huffington Post, an American study of more than 30 chronically ill patients revealed that taking part in the creation of visual arts improved their medical outcome, by helping to shift their focus away from their illness and diminishing feelings of distress and depression.
3. Art Opens Your Heart and Feeds Your Mind
Looking at art provides an opportunity to exercise critical thinking, experience a renewed self-awareness, and potentially even a deeper connection to others and their experiences, as we share what we feel and try to interpret what we see.
In 2011, Robert Mendick at The Telegraph reported on an experiment by Semir Zeki at University College in London, where subjects were shown a series of 30 fine art paintings by famous artists. Brain scans revealed that viewing beautiful artworks triggered a measurable increase in blood flow to a part of the brain linked with feelings of pleasure by sometimes as much as 10%. In addition, education faculty from the University of Arkansas conducted research on a large sample of students visiting the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, and discovered that there were lasting intellectual and emotional benefits from exposing students to fine art in a museum setting, including an increased capacity for empathy, tolerance, and critical thinking.
4. Working With Art Can Boost Productivity
When you’re designing your office space, adding some art can be a worthwhile investment. Based on research conducted by Dr. Craig Knight at The University of Exeter, Kirstie Brewer at The Guardian reported that people that worked in an “enriched” space decorated with art and plants worked nearly 15% faster than those who worked in more Spartan spaces, and had better health overall. If workers were “empowered,” by allowing them to have a say where the art was displayed in their workspace, their productivity boost was doubled to nearly 30%.