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Can Viewing Art Lower Cortisol?

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” - Pablo Picasso


Art, in its various forms, holds a profound power to soothe our minds and reduce stress. Whether it's a painting, a sculpture, or a photograph, engaging with visual arts can have a significant impact on our overall well-being.


The American Art Therapy Association's research indicates that viewing art can lead to a decrease in cortisol levels. Cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone, tends to escalate in stressful situations. The visual stimulation provided by art diverts our attention from these stressors, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the beauty and creativity of the artwork.


When we appreciate art, our brains release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. The visual experience also triggers our parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's rest and relaxation response. Together, these reactions contribute to a reduction in cortisol levels and a feeling of tranquility.


In today's digital world, an escape to a local art gallery, such as August Muse, can provide a much-needed break. The vibrant colors, varied textures, and intricate forms in different art pieces engage our senses, enabling us to momentarily escape from everyday stressors. Original art pieces as well as reprints can also be purchased and taken home to lower cortisol and stress levels at home.


Art can also be a stress relieving gift. Sharing this cortisol lowering gift with others by purchasing artwork and giving as a gift can be a wonderful reward. Art can be given to add to a special loved one's home or workspace.


The power of art to lower cortisol levels and promote relaxation is immense. Whether through a visit to a local gallery or purchasing art for your own home, engaging with art can serve as an effective strategy for managing stress and enhancing well-being.

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