Culture

Art can make you healthier

Cancel your gym memberships! Throw away your exercise equipment! Cause apparently looking at art (or more specifically doing activities that inspire awe) can help boost your immune system.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley who published the study “Positive Affect and Markers of Inflammation: Discrete Positive Emotions Predict Lower Levels of Inflammatory Cytokines” completed an experiment on 200 participants and tested their cytokines levels. Cytokine are proteins that cause inflammation when threatened telling the immune system to work harder, and can be associated with everything from depression to Alzheimer’s and type-2 diabetes when at extremely high levels. On the other end, researchers found that participants who reported having positive emotions- specifically awe- had the lowest levels of cytokines. The study states that the feeling of awe is important because it is associated with curiosity which typically results in behavioural responses that can be beneficial during inflammation.

“That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests that the things we do to experience these emotions — a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art — has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy,” UC Berkeley psychologist and co-author Dacher Keltner said.

So here’s your workout of the day:

molly hatch

Molly Hatch, Double Fluted Lace: After Royal Copenhagen, ceramic installation, 2015

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