We all know that for optimal physical health we should take as much exercise as possible and, according to the latest research, consume at least 30 different plant based foods every week. But did you know that just by engaging with art you can extend your life by 10 years?
According to a leading neurologist, daily artistic practice of any kind can have huge benefits in terms of lowering stress levels, minimising physical and mental-health issues and help us continue to learn, even in later life. The extra good news is that you don’t have to be any good at it - it’s simply the doing that matters.
Professor Susan Magsamen is executive director of the International Arts + Minds Laboratory, Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her new book, Your Brain on Art, has pulled together multiple studies to make a compelling case for art’s vital role in brain health.
“The evidence is here,” says Prof Magsamen. “Mask-making helps soldiers recover more quickly from PTSD, and a cancer hospital designed to increase and augment sensory experiences helps patients heal faster.”
In the book, Magsamen draws on cutting-edge research to show that engaging in 45 minutes of any kind of art – from colouring to dancing, to singing or humming, to knitting or playing music – reduces cortisol (the stress chemical) and can help us live happier, healthier lives.
So, now you know.