You probably know that high levels of stress aren’t good for you (and who even likes FEELING stressed?), but did you know how many ways stress can negatively affect your life? Numerous physical and emotional disorders are linked to stress. Read on to find out what they are.

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • GERD
  • IBS

Additionally, stress directly affects skin:

  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Atopic Dermatitis

There’s more, but I think I made my point. These are things no one wants. In fact, just thinking about it can CAUSE more stress. There’s no denying that stress can stop you from living your best life.

So what can you do? Science may have the answer. A study from the University of Westminster revealed that stress levels decreased after a jaunt to the art gallery on their lunchtime. Not difficult, right?

35 minutes of wandering not only left the participants FEELING less stressed, they had lower levels of cortisol, which is the hormone your body produces when it’s stressed out (Full disclosure: The decreased cortisol level only occurred if the participant came in with high levels, but one could make the argument that you wouldn’t need to lower them if they were low already).

One can surmise that any sort of art viewing is good for you. But let’s take it to the next level.

Brain scans during an experiment from University College London reveal the increase of blood flow to one part of the brain increased each time the participant was shown a piece of art they liked, and the increase was proportionate to how much that participant liked the piece.

As Professor Semir Zeki (the researcher in charge of conducting the experiment) said: “What we are doing is giving scientific truth to what has been known for a long time – that beautiful paintings makes us feel much better.”

Such a simple solution to a problem that can cause so many issues!

In addition, Art has many other functions — some abstract, some more specific. No matter what faith one is, timeless art speaks to our highest self.

Art has deep roots in faith — one just has to go to a museum to see the centuries of faith captured in some art form, from sculptures of Greek gods to medieval triptychs.

But what function does art serve for the faithful today? Is art simply a luxury?

The answer is no. Art gives hope. No matter what you believe spiritually, art uplifts everyone. You’d be hard pressed to find even one person that didn’t have at least one painting they felt a deep connection to, whether they would label that spiritual or not.

In the end, isn’t that what faith is? A connection to something bigger than yourself. Art is a conduit to that faith.

Art heals.

Want to fill your  home or workplace with art — and lower stress? Contact me today!

photo credit: jaime.silva Porto – Serralves Museum via photopin (license)

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