7 Ways Art Improves Quality of Life

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Art, whether you’re creating it or merely appreciating it, has the power to improve a person’s quality of life. It has the ability to expose parts of yourself that you may have never known existed which can just downright make you feel good.

Artwork stimulates the brain & evokes emotions similar to the greatest feelings humans can experience. Check mine out!

Anywho, without further delay, here are 7 Ways Art Improves Quality of Life:

1. Admiring Great Artwork Feels Like Falling In Love

Science confirms what all art lovers already knew: art makes you feel good.

According to neurobiologist and professor Semir Zeki at University College of London, when you stare at great artworks, the part of your brain as when you fall in love is stimulated.

The feeling of desire and affection that we have when we fall for someone romantically is the result of our brain releasing dopamine, a feel-good chemical.

Our brains have the same kind of pleasurable feelings when we admire art, such as The Birth of Venus, by Sandro Botticelli, or other masterpieces by great artists like Monet, Turner and Constable.

The same applies to other types of art: researches have shown that listening to a favorite musical piece stimulates dopamine production in the brain, thus promoting positive emotions.

“Love of beauty is Taste. The creation of beauty is Art.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. Art-Making Is a Form of Healing and Therapy

Visual expression has been used for healing throughout history, but only recently art therapy has emerged.

In the last few decades, people have rediscovered the benefits of art-making for:

  • personal growth,
  • self-expression,
  • transformation, and
  • wellness.

Art therapy has grown since the 1970s, becoming a recognized form of treatment in the fields of health and medicine.

Through the artistic and creative use of materials, we can discover and follow our true stream of imagery, we can come to know ourselves deeply.

Art making can be soothing and stress-reducing; it is also a source of relaxation, gratification, and self-expression.

Talent is not the key element in art therapy; actually talent is not required at all.

Art therapy revolves around the concept that the creative process exists within every individual.

We all have a gift of creativity, and it is unfolding that inner creativity that will take us on a healing journey as unique as we are.

Fostering art appreciation since young age may make long lasting changes to our brain that will help cope with health problems later on, science suggests.
Fostering art appreciation since young age may make long lasting changes to our brain that will help cope with health problems later on, science suggests. | Source

3. Surrounding Yourself with Things You Love Brings Happiness

Joy is about surrounding ourselves with the things we love.

We grow up in houses in which we haven’t chosen the décor, and we absorb concepts of what is beautiful and attractive from teachers and relatives without even realizing it. As adults, we think we know what is desirable, and what we love, but do we really know what shapes and forms make us happy?

How much of our choices in home furnishing come truly from within, and what parts are deeply affected by what we have learned to be good?

Much pleasure can be found in color, shape, form, and image. So it is very important to ask ourselves: What do I like? What gives me pleasure?

Surrounding yourself with things you love brings you happiness. Discovering what makes you happy helps you create a space that brings you joy.

4. Learn what Pleases You the Most and Be Happier

To learn your own personal aesthetics you can try these simple ways to learn what pleases you:

  • Collect images that interest you. Collect appealing magazine clippings and photos, and organize them by category, like furnishing ideas, artistic, crafts, etc. Pinterest provides a wonderful tool to do this digitally.
  • Collect small objects the same way. You can fill a box with small things like buttons, cute sticks, stones, or anything that is interesting because of color, shape or texture.
  • Cultivate your visuals consistently & carefully. This will not only keep you decluttered, but help you stay in touch with what brings you joy.

You will end up with a collection of things that touch you at some level, and looking at the collection ask yourself: what do they have in common?

It could be color, or a style, or texture, or design. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it speaks to you. Look at your favorite(s) especially—why do you like them so much?

Notice what pleases you. Each collection is a way to get to know your own personal esthetic.

Once you know your sources of pleasure, make sure you surround yourself with things that make your smile, and feel good. Having sources of inspiration and pleasure in your own house, or work place will make your life more pleasurable.

Let me arise and open the gate,
to breathe the wild warm air of the heath…
— Violet Fane

5. Art Has a Feel-Good Power on the Brain

More scientific results suggest that the dopaminergic effect of art on the brain has a powerful effect on quality of life. In fact it has been shown that among stroke survivors, those with interest in the arts enjoyed better general health, found it easier to walk, had more energy, and tend to be happier. They were also less likely to be depressed or anxious.

Those results suggest that art may affect long term changes on the brain that help the person to recover when things go wrong.

Science confirms what all art lovers already knew: art appreciation improves quality of life and makes you feel good.

Great artworks stimulates the brain like falling in love: we produce dopamine.

Public art can even help beautify and energize a city. Take, for example, the efforts Chicago has made to amp up its citizens with art.

6. Our Sensitivity to the Fine Arts Evolves Throughout Our Life

In the 1940s, Abraham Maslow, an American professor of psychology, developed a Hierarchy of Needs. According to Maslow, a person will develop from basic needs to self-actualization in steps.

His theory can be visualized as a pyramid:

At the bottom of the pyramid are the primary needs of every human being, and going up we find the more refined and sophisticated needs. A person will not care about the upper level until the bottom needs are fulfilled, said Maslow.

Art is at the top of this pyramid, in fact it belongs to the self-actualization step. This may explain why some people do not appreciate arts as much as others, and why our sensitivity to the fine arts changes with time throughout our life.

Many revised versions of this pyramid have been developed, sometimes adding new categories of needs, but the top ones are always related to feelings and gratification, and that’s where artistic experience belongs.

7. Art Is a Deep and Very Personal Experience

The language of art, expressed though sounds, colors, shapes, lines, and images, speaks in ways that words cannot.

Whether you experience the arts as a creator and artist or as an art lover, you can gain great pleasure and enjoyment from all kinds of arts: music, poetry, visual art, sculpture, theatrical performances, or dance.

Art has a way of reaching deep inside our souls and connect what is inside us, our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, with outer realities and with our own experiences. (It’s what makes me cry every time a symphony begins… ask Jelaine)

Being such a deep experience on a personal level, art can help us understand who we are and enhance life through self-expression.

If you visit my art page, you can see how it has affected me.