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How to Improve Quality of Life Exploring the Healthy Side of Art

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Do you have health on the brain, or are you looking for a reason to justify your art spending habits?

This news might be just what you want to hear either way.

Lately, I've started making health a greater priority, and while I admire all those fitness gurus and marathon runners, I've never had much desire to run unless I was being chased.

Like most people, when they become parents, it becomes a priority in more ways than one, from eating healthy and cooking at home to more physical activity. Anything to help me stick around for a while, you know.

With that being said, I've discovered some underrated ways to improve our health. Everything from apple cider, coconut oil, travel, art, massage therapy, etc.

"Hold on Shayla, did you say art?"

Yes, yes I did.

I know, it came across as unusual to me too at first, and I'm an art lover! But, after thinking about it more thoroughly, it makes complete sense.

Like me, I bet when shopping for art, the only time you might be considering your blood pressure is at an auction, but turns out there's an array of health benefits that come from interacting with art, whether that be as an observer or a participant, there's not a down-side.

If you're a research-based personality type like me, there's a very interesting study published in the American Journal of Public Health by Heather L. Stuckey, DEd, and Jeremy Nobel, MD, concluding a direct link between creative arts and health outcomes, both physical and mental. Plus, the WHO (not the band, the other WHO) has been researching the use of artistic media in health care extensively over the years and shows it can have lasting benefits for health outcomes.

Let's delve a bit more into how the creation and enjoyment of art help promote holistic wellness or be a motivating factor in recovery.

Reduces Stress & Lowers Blood Pressure

Art's ability to help aid physical health

Art has an amazing ability to enhance an entire room, lifting the mood of everyone in it.

When we surround ourselves with things that spark joyful emotions and increase our relaxation sensors, we trigger something in our body that reduces our stress and cortisol levels. This lowers our blood pressure and helps prevent and slow the progression of a range of conditions, including cardiovascular diseases and even some cancers.

Your body's an amazing machine consisting of billions of sensors. Surprisingly art triggers most of them.

The arts are uniquely suited to help us understand and communicate concepts and emotions by drawing on all our senses and capacity for empathy, as it's not only a visual element. It can transport us to a different time, place, memory, feeling, etc., complete with the recollection of what it might smell, feel, and taste like.

For example, a painting of a serene lake might remind me of when I was young and on a family vacation looking off an overlook at a beautiful lake. I remember the smell of the crisp morning air and the chirping birds. Mostly I remember, "I want to live here," and the car snacks. I immediately feel as relaxed as when I was a carefree child, vacationing with my family.

Everyone is attracted to art on a personal level that's tied to a feeling or emotion and registers on a high or low frequency. You can use this to your advantage by changing your inner frequency and adjusting your mood or vibrations based on the visuals you surround yourself with.

If you spend the majority of time indoors, it's just as healthy to have inspiring artwork around as it is an air purifying plant or two, and if you're creatively inclined, this is like antioxidants for the body!

Making art not only brings great joy, but gives a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that leaves you feeling happier, less anxious, and more self-confident, improving your overall quality of life.

But the health benefits don't stop there!

Mental Health

Arts ability to aid in mental health

There's a whole slew of things people are processing these days that can't always be verbally expressed or communicated, but with art, the sky's the limit.

Creating and experiencing art and its ability to provoke cognitive stimulation is effective in treatment of dementia and other conditions associated with aging, as well as treating depression and anxiety, as it allows you the time to meditate and reflect on your inner thoughts and beliefs.

Research by the WHO Regional Office for Europe also showed that the use of artistic media in health care can help us process difficult emotions in times of emergency and trauma; allowing us to emotionally navigate the journey of battling an illness or injury, and even helps to physically recover more quickly or learn from those traumatic events.

Even enjoying the art scene can assist in reducing feelings of isolation, by finding others with a common ground or broadening your purview and gaining another's perspective. You'll never be in short supply as we all bring our unique outlooks to a piece that can help us challenge our belief systems and grow as individuals.

Art also offers a social connection in that a piece can be enjoyed by many in multiple ways, and can be the ice breaker for many individuals who are anxious about trying to overcome cultural divides and language barriers.

The Benefits Go On

Other studies show the arts support child development and caregivers, improve problem-solving skills, and encourage health-promoting behavior. The improved quality of life art can offer does more than just fill your empty walls.

Since the caveman's days, we've been creating and appreciating art. It's become part of our intrinsic nature and genetic makeup. As no one knows us better than ourselves, the more we can explore our relationship with the creative arts, the more we will understand our inner processes and rhythms. This allows for an opportunity to self-heal in certain respects.

Now I'm not claiming art will help you grow back an appendage, but Heather L. Stuckey, DEd and Jeremy Nobel, MD said it beautifully in their study I mentioned earlier.

They stated, "Through creativity and imagination, we find our identity and our reservoir of healing. The more we understand the relationship between creative expression and healing, the more we will discover the healing power of the arts."

If you're a collector or looking to break into the art world, there's as many avenues to get into it as there are personalities within.

Knowing how your personality feeds into your buying habits

can help alleviate many of the stresses that come with searching for that special one-of-a-kind piece, or narrowing down your options because you want to buy them all.

If you're unsure of your type or think your habits might be all over the place…I've got a fun quiz that'll help you sort that out and give you better insight into the type of art that suits your artistic needs and purchasing habits.

Once you've figured that out, you're one step closer to managing that dream art collection without mismanaging your budget or wall space.

Plus, who doesn't love a quiz?

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