Do you perhaps need a little bit of love? The University of London conducted a study that showed when a person views a piece of art that they consider beautiful, there is an instantaneous release of dopamine, a chemical that is linked to feelings of love, into the brain.
Exercising our creativity can give us an outlet from our daily routines, helping us express emotions and boost our happiness levels.
Participants in a 2014 study who produced art demonstrated: ‘a significant improvement in psychological resilience’ as well as increased levels of “functional connectivity” in the parts of the brain responsible for introspection, self-monitoring and memory. While creating a healthy state of mind it also reduces stress, distracts from our worries and helps build self esteem.
The next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious, try taking a step back and looking at a piece of art. It can be a piece you have in your home, in a book, or even one that you pull up on your phone or computer. Take five minutes and really look at the piece, considering the colors, the perspective, the setting, the subject, and anything else you notice, and really think about it. Chances are, at the end of your five minutes, you’ll feel better than you did before.
When you’re looking at a new piece of art, your brain starts looking for patterns, shapes, and anything else that is familiar to make you feel more connected to the piece. Even if you don’t “get” it, your brain is still going to work, trying to find meaning in what you’re looking at.
Art has existed for nearly as long as humans have existed. By looking at art from a different time, you’re transported to the time and place that the artist has depicted & that helps your brain make you feel as if you’re doing a little bit of escaping. The next time you step into a museum, think of it as time-traveling instead!
One study found that a single hour in an art gallery changed how people thought and felt. The subjects of the study exhibited improved critical thinking skills, increased empathy for how people lived in the past, and improved tolerance for people different from themselves. The next time you’ve got a brain-block, looking at art just might help to clear it up!