The HeART of the Matter

The HeART of the Matter

Can you mend a broken heart through the arts? According to a new article by Ed Decker from the International Arts and Mind Lab (IAM Lab) at the Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics, heart-healthy art activities like painting and writing have a profound calming influence on a person's physiology and positively impact a person's physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing.  

"Whether we create art or simply enjoy it, the experience can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and bring heart palpitations under control.  Reduction of stress is especially important since acute or chronic stress can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease."  Ed Decker, IAM Lab Reporter

Dr. Harlan Krumholz, MD, a professor at Yale University School of Medicine and member of the board of directors of the Foundation for Art and Healing, an organization that studies the connection between creative expression and healing, says, "If stress is bad for you, then creative pursuits are the opposite -- creative pursuits allow people to find their 'flow state,' a mental state in which they are so fully involved in an activity that they become unaware of the passing of time."

Decker goes on to relate that art activities have been linked to heart rate variability (HRV), a critical measure of heart health. "The HRV is a marker for how well we can adapt to changes both in our brain activity and the environment around us and a consistently low HRV increases the risk of developing future heart disease."  

A study conducted at the National Institute of Health (NIH), found that participants using oil-based paints experienced a greater positive effect on HRV than those engaged in gouache painting and pencil drawing.  

Creating a place in our homes and our hearts for art ... especially oil paintings ... can take us on a heart-healthy journey!

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.