The Appeal Of Art And Beauty To The Senses Makes Them An Important Part Of Healing
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. ~ Albert Einstein
Misconceptions abound about art and beauty. Individuals disagree as to whether particular creations or artists are good or bad. However, Pegasus caregivers in Los Angeles and elsewhere don’t question the importance of art and beauty in healing.
Art in a variety of forms has existed since time immemorial. Despite that, it’s hard to define. Many people think only of the visual arts, such as painting and sculpture.
But art is much more than that. It can be loosely described as a creative expression. It includes dance, music, storytelling, and writing, among others.
Beauty is subjective. What is lovely to one individual can be unattractive to another. Beauty in art means that all the elements of the artwork appeal to a person’s senses.
Art performs many functions. It can fulfill an individual’s desire for beauty. It can also be a way to:
- Experience the mystery of the universe
- Use symbols, shapes, and ideas to express imagination
- Perform a ritual
- Stimulate political change
- Question or raise awareness of culture, values, or society
- Manipulate opinions (propaganda)
- Sell products or services
Therapists use art as a diagnostic tool and in treatment.
Choose Healing Art
January 31 is “Inspire Your Heart With Art” day. Art that’s meant to raise awareness of social injustice is a valid way to generate change. While that can help heal society, it doesn’t necessarily help with personal healing.
For individuals, art that is beautiful is the most healing. For some, that’s landscapes or seascapes. For others, it might be black-and-white photography.
Beauty not only appeals to your senses, but it also nourishes your soul. While it can be stimulating, it heals with comfort. Along with your soul, your heart, mind, and body responds positively to beauty.
You may be thinking that you have to create something beautiful to benefit from art. Creativity certainly has healing ability. But reading poetry, watching a ballet, or visiting a gallery also contribute to your wellbeing.
Art Increases Happiness
A Norwegian study discovered that viewing art provided the same health benefits as creating art. Those benefits included:
- Decreased depression and anxiety
- Increased ability to think
- Feeling satisfied with life
The researchers also observed that women had more benefit when they created art. Men had greater benefit than women from viewing art.
Other studies show that dopamine is released in individuals looking at art they consider beautiful. Dopamine is a brain chemical related to feelings of pleasure. That is, art can make you feel happier.
Not only does art release a feel-good chemical, but it also decreases your levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone, and reduced levels mean that you feel less stressed. Since stress negatively affects your health, any reduction benefits you.
Evidence continues to accumulate of the healing role of art and beauty in mental and physical conditions. As well as the benefits noted above, art can be used to:
- Heal emotional trauma
- Increase empathy for others and understanding of oneself
- Change ways of thinking and behaving
- Reduce symptoms of chronic conditions
For some individuals, art served to reduce their pain. It helped others feel more in control of their condition.
Music And Color Can Heal
Music has been used in healing since ancient times. Contemporary research shows a connection between your auditory system and your brain. Music can soothe your mind and body.
Music isn’t the only art form with healing vibrations. Colors have different “frequencies” that affect individuals. Designers of medical facilities now make use of color to help create an atmosphere of healing.
Whether you are looking at an artwork or relaxing in a room, the colors help determine how you feel. As a general guideline:
- Red is stimulating and can energize you
- Orange increases feelings of joy and happiness
- Yellow is cheerful and can help clear your mind
- Green is restful and helps to renew you
- Blue is regarded as having the most healing properties as it increases your peace, serenity, and ability to relax
You may find specific musical arrangements to be calming. Or the style and colors used by a particular artist are relaxing. You might feel better watching flamenco dancers than a ballet.
Art Is Easily Available
Although experiencing art in person is ideal, you don’t have to leave your home to enjoy art. Television, radios, and the internet have an immense variety of music. You can also find dance performances and collections of art on the internet.
Some sites to start with include:
You may find it more satisfactory to order a book or CD featuring your favorite artist, style, or time period. You can also rent videos of many performances, especially of the classics.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Pegasus caregivers in Los Angeles and our other locations work one-on-one with you and your loved ones. Our goal is to keep you safe, independent, and healthy in your home.