October 11, 2022
By Chelsea Reed
Did you know that art can have a profound effect on your health? These days, plenty of scientific studies show that making art to express yourself reduces stress, improves mental health, and assists in communication. But even simply looking at art in galleries can have lasting positive health benefits. That’s good news for those of us who aren’t artists! Let’s explore what happens to your health when you observe a beautiful piece of art.
Let’s say you walk through a relaxing art gallery when suddenly, a piece of art catches your eye. Maybe it’s the vibrant colors that get your attention. Or, it could be the dramatic lighting. You walk closer to examine it, and it makes you stop and think. It may remind you of a certain feeling, memory, personal milestone, or someone important in your life. It may even make you smile or shed a tear.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty of action taking place in your brain. What’s going on in there? Well, for one thing, our brains are constantly looking for patterns in what we see. When the patterns resemble a familiar image from memory, it exercises the brain. That’s how we interpret art, even if it’s abstract. When we look at art, memory is improved, empathy increases and unhealthy cortisol levels get lower in the brain. What’s more, the blood flow to the brain increases when we look at beautiful art in the same way as falling in love!
As time went by more health benefits were discovered by scientists as they conducted studies on the effects of art viewing in galleries. But when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, people needed to stay home. Suddenly, art galleries had to rely on the web to keep their businesses and patrons safe. Online art viewing skyrocketed. This made scientists wonder. Does viewing art online have the same benefits as in person?
It turns out that it does! Researchers at the University of Vienna found that a short three-minute session looking at online art shared similar benefits as seeing art in person and even taking a walk in nature. The benefits become stronger if the online art is especially beautiful or meaningful to the viewer.
Need a mental health break? Experience the benefits yourself with a quick look at Seaside Art Gallery’s stunning online art gallery! You may even find a piece you love that is destined to go home with you. Then you can enjoy those same benefits for many years to come!
Chelsea Reed is a copywriter who writes winning content, articles, blogs, and websites from her base in North Carolina. She might not be building sandcastles or swashbuckling with pirates these days, but the Outer Banks beaches continue to keep her young at heart.
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