Enjoying art improves health

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viewing art

These two people are appreciating fine art as well as boosting their immune system. Photo credit: Jeffrey

Viewing beautiful artwork impacts our mood, but now a study suggests that may prove enjoying art may actually improve our physical health as well.

A new study conducted by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, finds that activities that inspire awe, such as enjoying art, may improve your immune system. Researchers studied the levels of cytokines, proteins that indicate the immune system is working overtime, in subjects after they experienced positive emotions.

The researchers specifically studied when subjects experienced awe. When someone is feeling sick or depressed, they have the inclination to withdraw. However, awe seems to override this instinct and will elicit feelings of curiosity and exploration. In the study, the people who had just experienced awe had some of the lowest levels of cytokine.

“That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests that the things we do to experience these emotions – a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art – has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy,” said Dacher Keltner, UC Berkeley psychologist and co-author.

Visiting Park West Gallery or viewing your own collection at home just may help keep the doctor away.

Read more about the way art improves health here.

art improves health

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