What Does Art Have To Do With Healthy Living?

I am a creative being at heart. When my children were young I developed a business creating and selling mosaic art. I enjoyed creating pieces, ranging from mirrors to outdoor benches and outdoor art pieces from rough and broken china and marble.

But staying ‘healthy’ includes more than eating whole, seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole unprocessed grains and lean proteins, and exercising regularly. I think it’s critical, for both adults and children, to cultivate an appreciation for the arts–both visual arts and music.

In the June issue of the journal Brain & Cognition, they published a study’s findings where they connected how “the different areas of the brain engage and process a painting. The areas of the brain that were engaged were vision, pleasure, memory, recognition and emotions, in addition to systems that underlie the conscious processing of new information to give it meaning.” (The Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2014). It’s like exercise for your brain!

I believe that cultivating appreciation for traditional visual arts, as well as the musical arts, is critical in helping adults and children achieve a well-rounded basis of knowledge. This is especially challenging for young people inundated with electronic stimulation from XBox, iPhones/pads, and video games. These rarely stretch their intellect to evolve their opinions about beauty and art because it’s always being presented to them in high-speed succession. Placing them in front of a painting, or asking them to close their eyes and listen to a more traditional musical genre is confusing and ‘boring’ to them. That saddens me. They are missing out on unexplored beauty.

In the middle of your busiest moment, demand 90 seconds to take a break. Stop. Take a deep breath and visualize something beautiful, or listen to a piece of music with your eyes closed. When you open them do you feel more focused and peaceful? Then it worked. Try it more often!

 

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