The art of your mind has its own rewards, and there are many benefits to be had. Not only does art have the capacity to uplift your mood, but it may even change your brain structure and function. It’s no secret that the human brain is hardwired to process art. It recognizes faces, processes scenes, and is responsive to the art of your mind. And when you are engaged in a creative endeavor, your brain is in a state of flow.
Creating or viewing art has been shown to trigger the best of many brain functions, from boosting your memory to reducing stress. According to studies conducted by neuroscientist Oshin Vartanian, the human brain has numerous regions that are actively involved when observing or producing art.
One study found that an art based exercise helped improve memory in people with serious brain disorders, while another showed that creating art helps the brain build new neural pathways. A slew of other studies have linked creative activities to improvements in mental health, and a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that artistic pursuits can give dementia patients a sense of accomplishment.
The best part about producing or observing art is that you do not have to be a pro to reap the rewards. Some people are intimidated by the thought of creating or seeing a masterpiece, but it is not as daunting as it may seem. A good art therapy program will include a number of craft-like exercises, such as collages and scribbles, to help hone your creative abilities.
A study titled “The Art of Your Mind” by the American Psychological Association found that creating and viewing art has a few noteworthy effects on the brain. The resulting activity stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which boosts the body’s drive, resisting impulses, and preparing the brain for learning. It also boosts the mind’s ability to think critically and solve problems.
The fMRI studies that looked at the neural systems while viewing or responding to art showed that the reward center in the brain received a bump in blood flow. Moreover, the brain’s most advanced area, the insula, was found to be more active in people who were rewarded with something nice. And the latest research points to a link between mindfulness and creativity.
The same researchers measured blood flow to the reward center, as well as other areas of the brain that are involved in the processes associated with the best of all worlds, including the ability to learn a new skill. This is the first time researchers have shown that the art of your mind can produce real-world effects in the brain. The best part is that it can be done without leaving the comfort of your home.
For example, you can take a 35 minute walk around a gallery and feel more alert than you did prior to stepping foot in the place. Or, you can buy a gizmo to enhance your cognitive capabilities. There are also plenty of supplemental brain health products on the market that can increase your attention span, memory, and ability to think critically.