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Your Brain On Art

mixed media art journal page

With all the talk about how ART can help your mental wellbeing, do you still wonder if ART is only for "talented" people and just not meant for people like "you" who cannot draw?

your brain on art

Last year I read this book, "Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us". It presents scientific evidence for how our brains and bodies transform when we participate in the arts. Not just visual art, but also dancing, expressive writing and more. Authors, Ivy Ross and Susan Magsamen, share case studies from the neurosciences, psychology, public health, social sciences to prove the arts generative impact.

As this book is filled with lots of research, it can get a little dry and for a science noob like me, I sort of skimmed through it towards the end. However, here are some noteworthy excepts which will inspire you to start engaging in the arts. You can also borrow the ebook from NLB if you're interested to know more.

The Arts Activates Our Senses

You and your environment are inseparable. Your senses lay the foundation for how and why arts and aesthetics offer the perfect path to amplify your health and well-being.

The arts is so awesome, simply because it activates our senses. Recently I realise I've a super power sense of smell. Using my sense of smell, I know that the pork chops are ready to be flipped over. I can also smell things my family can't seem to smell. According to the book,

The olfactory cortex is located in the temporal lobe of your brain, which broadly affects emotions and memory. This is why smell instantaneously and potently triggers physical and mental responses in you... A single sniff or a certain perfume or cologne can bring you back to a long-forgotten relationship.

Brain And Body

Engaging in the arts is a whole body experience and our brain processes that experience.

Cognitive neuroscientists believe we're conscious of only about 5 percent of our mental activity. The rest of your experience - physically, emotionally, sensorially - lives below what you are actually thinking. Your brain is processing stimuli constantly, like a sponge, absorbing millions of sensory signals.

It's not too late to start a new hobby or habit for the year! The arts is not confined to painting or drawing, but perhaps take on the challenge of learning dancing or start a new habit of journalling? Maybe start small by making a point of singing in the shower? Have fun with the arts!


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