Many of us tend to see art as a common good that is nice to have, or as a decorative background filler we only really appreciate when we want to impress our friends. However, recent scientific research is showing how viewing and creating art can actually lead to higher levels of happiness.
In a controlled study, University College London neurobiologist, Semir Zeki, demonstrated how showing works of art that over 30 subjects found favorable increased their levels of dopamine – the neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. The favorable art also led to increased blood flow and heightened activity in the subjects’ prefrontal cortex.
This suggests that appreciating great art can trigger the same psychological euphoria as romantic love and recreational drug use.
Science also suggests that creating art can elevate one’s mood, help the mind focus, improve problem solving abilities and increase open-mindedness. Mental health professionals agree there’s a correlation between creative expression and positivity. Creating art frequently seems to help the creator harness intuitive creative compunctions that liberate them by giving them the space to truly be themselves.
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