Seeing Beautiful Art Can Quickly Lower Your Pain

Immerse yourself in art.  Visit a gallery or museum and allow the depth and grace of great works to pierce through your pain.  Let them remind you of all that is real and beautiful, shocking and intense, poignant and amusing.  After all, artists process experiences, expressing them in new ways that reach your heart, mind, and soul.  Enjoy the unique connection that happens when you stand before a painting or sculpture and listen carefully.  Be open to a radical shift in perception.

Art can transport you from all the dirty laundry of divorce into a realm of possibility.  It can remind you of why you’re here: to experience everything.  The full catastrophe, as Jon Kabat-Zinn calls it.

Recently, researchers at Italy’s University of Bari found when 12 healthy subjects were subjected to stinging sensations from lasers their pain decreased by about one third when they gazed a works of art they had previously found pleasing; conversely, the pain was worsened when they looked at art they had previously judged as ugly. While this study measured the positive effects of art on physical pain, it’s easy to imagine similar results alleviating emotional pain with art.

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang

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Nicole Urdang

Nicole S. Urdang, M.S., NCC, DHM is a Holistic Psychotherapist in Buffalo, NY. She holds a New York state license in mental health counseling and a doctorate in homeopathic medicine from the British Institute of Homeopathy.