Reasons Why Living Around Art is Good for your Brain and Your Health in General

Contrary to the common conception that arts are just for plain aesthetics, it does more than serve the visual. In fact, numerous studies have proven the positive effects of art—looking at it and even making it, to our brain and overall mental health. Did you know that our brains are originally hardwired to process art? Some parts of the brain that are associated with contemplation are automatically sparked when viewing art, even if they aren’t thinking about it critically. So, whether you like it or not, your brain is activated whenever you see one!

Your Brain Sees Art as a Reward

You may be surprised to know that our brains are programmed to consider looking at art as a reward. This is according to the findings of one study that explored the movements and state of the brain whilst exposed to art. Viewing the works of famous painters like Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, and other artists more strongly activate the brain’s “reward system” compared to the brain activity that happens when looking at photographs of similar subjects, according to the researchers at Emory University School of Medicine.

Four male volunteers and four females were asked to view paintings made by famous and unknown artists and photographs with the same subject as of the paintings. Imaging technology revealed that when an individual viewed a painting, the ventral striatum (part of the reward system) was more strongly activated, compared to just looking at the photograph version.

The results reveal that not only did art viewing stimulate the ventral striatum, but it also activated the hypothalamus which is the part of the brain that is associated with appetite regulation and the orbitofrontal cortex, which is responsible with calculating risk, impulse control and detection of social rules.

Art Encourages Creative Thinking

Contrary to popular belief, creative thinking does not mean using the right side of your brain. It involves getting both hemispheres of your brain to communicate with each other. This is according to Dr. Lawrence Katz, an internationally recognized pioneer in neuron regeneration research.

Art enhances Problem-Solving Skills.

A study proved that arts improve the critical thinking skills of students and children. This means that the greater exposure they have to works of art, the higher the rates of brain development is possible.  Art also improves the “attention to details”the ability of the brain.

Being Around Art is like Being In Love

Scientifically speaking, being in love is characterized by increased blood flow and a faster heartbeat. The brain releases hormones that make you feel happy. Well, art can give that similar effects on you.

Some artworks, as perceived most beautiful by participants, increased blood flow in a certain part of the brain by as much as 10 percent – the equivalent to gazing at a loved one. These are paintings by John Constable, Ingres, the French neoclassical painter, and Guido Reni, the 17th-century Italian artist, produced the most powerful ‘pleasure’ response in those taking part in the experiment.

“The reaction was immediate. What we found was the increase in blood flow was in proportion to how much the painting was liked. The blood flow increased for a beautiful painting just as it increases when you look at somebody you love. It tells us art induces a feel-good sensation direct to the brain,” says Professor Semir Zeki, chair of neuroaesthetics at University College London and the one who conducted the experiment.

Art Saves You From Stress

Art can decrease stress levels. This is proven by a study conducted by researchers from the University of Westminster. 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.

Our brain gets excited whenever it is exposed to art. In fact, art therapy is considered one of the possible ways of helping patients with mental illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, since drug treatment for dementia symptoms is generally not very successful.

Why should hotels, hospitals, workspaces prioritize displaying art

Did you know that art has a lot more scientifically-proven benefits for your health? In fact, there is a deeper reason why artworks are displayed and hanged in almost every place integral to your life—your homes, your workplace, vacation spots, and hospitals.

More than making you feel happy, relaxed, thinking, or calm, differently themed artworks can do wonders for your mental health and overall disposition and well-being. If you think art is used in spaces as just fillers and decorations, you might be surprised that it’s a lot more than that. In fact, many studies have proven the correlation between the impacts of artworks and their effects on productivity, relaxation, de-stressing, and even healing from health issues.

Hospitality Art

hotel art

Today, hotels are more than just buildings with rooms and beds; it slowly evolves into space for arts to be filled with paintings, sculptures and other artworks as décor. Hoteliers are thinking even farther outside the frame, installing art in the most unexpected of ways and challenging guests to think more deeply about their experience. Art has become a fundamental, rather than ornamental, element of hotel design.

Art becomes part of the package and experience a hotel offers, and to be fair, it does makes sense. Since staying in a hotel may start to feel like spending the night in an art museum, travelers with a tight schedule who can’t squeeze in a day to visit local art galleries can witness the art local to that specific hotel. This way, local artists can also showcase their works in a way that their masterpieces ‘visit’ the tourists.

At the same time, guests love it when hotel art makes them think and ponder. In some reports, many guests have admitted that they enjoy art displayed in their hotel when it seems to talk to them and tell them a story. In fact, numerous studies have proven the positive effects of art—looking at it and even making it, to our brain and overall mental health. Did you know that our brains are hardwired initially to process art? Some parts of the brain that are associated with contemplation are automatically sparked when viewing art, even if they aren’t thinking about it critically.

Healthcare Art

art sells most to hospitals

Numerous studies have found out that paintings and other works of art found in hospitals help patients and families in the healing process. Researchers have concluded that there are direct links between the content of images and the brain’s reaction to pain, stress, and anxiety, hospitals are considering and choosing artworks based on the evidence and giving it a higher priority than mere decoration for sterile rooms and corridors.

Research suggests patients are positively affected by nature themes and figurative art with unambiguous, positive faces that convey a sense of security and safety.

Some patients in its survey reported they were motivated to get out of bed to view the artwork. Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder reported the most significant positive improvement in mood.

As more studies a direct link between the content of images and the brain’s reaction to pain, stress, and anxiety, the majority of the hospitals in the United States are giving arts a higher priority than mere decoration for sterile rooms and corridors.

Since the new millennium, medical facilities including hospitals, clinics, senior living residences, and dental and medical offices have started to recognize the importance of providing healing and aesthetically pleasing environments.

Corporate Art

Workers love an environment with more art on it

Today, business owners are beginning to understand that displaying artwork in the workplace does more than making the office more aesthetically pleasing or impress visitors and potential clients. In fact, it can do more benefit for the company than imagined. Being surrounded by artworks and creative vibes actually increase an employee’s efficiency, productivity, and creativity.

Art inspires and unlocks creative potential.

The brain is programmed to feel inspired whenever they see impressive pictures or paintings. This is why motivational quotes often come with pictures of magnificent sunsets, towering trees, and mountains, or feats of athleticism.

The inspiration that one feels upon looking at art unlocks creative potential, helping to produce and generate innovative ideas. Innovative ideas, in turn, lead to new business practices and promotional campaigns, which ultimately create economic growth.

At the same time, art helps to connect with clients. Since art is considered a universal language which connects people through feelings and different interpretations, it can be a common ground for you and your clients.

Art encompasses life in all its aspects. Not only in aesthetics but in a way, the quality of life and the kind of world we live in is affected, influenced by arts. Arts serves the purpose of beauty, as well as complexity in its entirety. We see how art gives room for science and technology to improve. How travelers travel the world in search of new and unique artworks, how art helps hospital patients to recover and how workers improve their quality of work when surrounded by art.

Art for Healing? Why Healthcare Art is the Trend Right Now (Infographic)

Did you know that art has a lot more scientifically-proven benefits for your health? In fact, there is a deeper reason why artworks are displayed and hanged in almost every place integral to your life—your homes, your workplace, favorite vacation spots, and hospitals.

More than making you feel happy, relaxed, thinking, or calm, differently themed artworks can do wonders for your mental health and overall disposition and well-being. If you think art is used in spaces as just fillers and decorations, you might be surprised that it’s a lot more than that. In fact, many studies have proven the correlation between the impacts of artworks and their effects on productivity, relaxation, de-stressing, and even healing from health issues.

Numerous studies have found out that paintings and other works of art found in hospitals help patients and families in the healing process. Researchers have concluded that there are direct links between the content of images and the brain’s reaction to pain, stress, and anxiety, hospitals are considering and choosing artworks based on the evidence and giving it a higher priority than mere decoration for sterile rooms and corridors.

The study suggests patients are positively affected by nature themes and figurative art with unambiguous, positive faces that convey a sense of security and safety. Some patients in its survey also reported they were motivated to get out of bed to view the artwork. Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder reported the most significant positive improvement in mood.

With more and more studies showing a direct link between the content of images and the brain’s reaction to pain, stress, and anxiety, the majority of the hospitals in the United States are giving arts a higher priority than mere decoration for sterile rooms and corridors.

Art for Healing Why Healthcare Art is the Trend Right Now

Since the new millennium, medical facilities including hospitals, clinics, senior living residences, and dental and medical offices have started to recognize the importance of providing healing and aesthetically pleasing environments.

Best Kind of Art for your Mind

Natural landscapes

According to art consultants, pieces that depict nature—be it random illustrations of landscapes or local views are a hit when it comes to healthcare art. This is because art that shows a vast space can magically make a room bigger, and more spacious, which can help sick patients relax and feel not constrained. Nature-themed artworks are also more colorful, making the ambiance more vibrant and alive.

Bodies of Water

There’s just something about the view of the sea that is always encouraging for patients and healthcare staff alike. According to art consultants, paintings and artworks that depict seascapes, harbors, and beach scenes are also easy to sell because people love looking at any water form.

First off, the color blue is calming, and studies found that the human mind is naturally attracted to any body of water. Scientists also discover that being near the sea or the ocean makes a person more creative and calmer.

A group of researchers found that people are naturally more drawn to images with the color blue on it. By showing photographs of a variety of landscapes to a group of participants, the results significantly suggest people enjoy looking at images with blue in it more compared to those which only has greenery. The data collected show that images with green space received a positive response, as Ulrich has found. But images with both green and blue got the most favorable response of all. After all, blue and green are complementary colors.

Everyday Life

Paintings that depict true-to-life scenarios, events or people are also one of the top choices for hospitals. This is one way to create a brand for the industry, especially if the artworks were commissioned by local artists. Through these artworks, a hospital can transform itself into a gallery or museum where guests can enjoy their time while waiting for their loved ones.

Abstract

Studies have shown that hospital rooms, hallways, and lobbies filled with abstract art can be beneficial for both the patients, their visitors, as well as its staff. According to studies, looking at abstract artworks has positive effects on the brain and body. When exposed to art, the brain relaxes and releases hormones that calm the body and nerves, making the viewer more comfortable and stress-free.

Abstract artworks are also one of the most popular art themes because it’s generally safe, open for interpretation and can serve as a conversation starter for everyone, lifting the often sad and depressing ambiance of hospitals.