Art for Health

Think about the last time you had to sit in a waiting room, be it at the dentist or the family doctor. While you probably don’t look forward to the visit itself, you probably have noticed something about waiting rooms: they’re quiet, usually calming, and might boast dreamy, delicate paintings on their walls. 

This is no accident. Studies have shown that when medical centers display artwork in their offices, patients experience significantly less anxiety, stress, and general illness. It makes sense, since most people do not look forward to seeing a doctor. The cold and sterile environment of a hospital often intimidates. Art softens the atmosphere, allowing people to focus less on illness and more on getting well.

Art’s power over our health extends outside the doctor’s office. You already know that art can move people in remarkable ways, but you may not know that it can also motivate them to live more healthfully. One London study found that 79% of people who engaged with art in some way went on to adopt healthier diets, while 77% took up exercising more regularly. Most notable, 82% enjoyed a dramatic increase in their general quality of life.

Even healthcare providers can benefit from stopping to look at a beautiful painting every once in a while. That same study noted that NHS employees miss a total of 10 million days annual, which costs the NHS billions. However, when healthcare providers engage art, they not only stay healthy themselves; they are productive at work and can therefore better care for their patients.

Bottomline: NHS workers can’t help others get well if they themselves get sick so regularly. If artwork can keep them going into work each day healthy and ready to nurse their patients back to health, it only makes sense to invest in it.

Invest in Art Today

If you have art in your office but it’s gotten a little stale, make an effort to shake things up. Consider rotating your art displays every six months or so, in order to keep those works of art from becoming just a part of the wallpaper and losing their creativity-boosting abilities. If you’re an employer, it might also be a good idea to get your employees involved in your next art selection. By taking a simple poll of what art styles your employees find most inspirational or interesting, you can customize your office’s art experience and, emphasize the positive side effects of having art in the office.

If you’ve been looking for a way to implement a few positive changes in the office, consider the arts. Not only does it have the potential to improve performance, but it can brighten up a boring office at the same time.