8 Ways To Live Longer You've Probably Never Linked To Health
You could extend your life by up to 10 years just by engaging with more art, of any kind, according to experts.
You don’t even have to be good at it (no need for the next budding Matisse or an award-winning dance troupe here), but just by connecting with art on some level every day, your long-term health might improve.
According to the specialists, just 30 to 45 minutes daily – or at least, weekly – of any kind of art is said to help lower your stress levels and induce fewer physical and mental health problems, while also encouraging your brain to learn new things.
That can include:
Humming or singing – this is proven to help calm you down
Curating a personal playlist helps – this releases anxiety, and takes you out of fight-flight-freeze responses
Reading a beloved poem – this has the same effect as listening to music
Working with clay or Play-Doh – this releases serotonin
Creating a knitting circle – this helps you maintain focus and forge strong social connections
Doing some colouring – this stimulates the same part of your brain as meditation
Smelling something you love – smells can impact up to 75% of your emotions
Going to an interactive exhibit – this heightens learning and memory.
The new advice comes from professor Susan Magsamen, executive director of International Arts + Minds Laboratory, Centre for Applied Neuroaesthetics at John Hopkins University School of Medicine.
She wrote the new book Your Brain on Art with Google’s vice president of hardware design Ivy Ross, and drew a strong parallel between our health and art.
Magsamen said: “The evidence is here. Mask-making helps soldiers recover more quickly from PTSD, and a cancer hospital designed to increase and augment sensory experiences helps patients heal faster.”
Speaking to The Telegraph, she explained how an old playlist of beloved songs helped a man with Alzheimer’s recognise his son for the first time in a decade, as the sound stimulated the emotional part of his brain along with the memory.
She added: “The more salient – ie emotionally powerful – something is, the better we learn and remember it.”
This isn’t the first time that specialists have urged all of us to make small changes to help us live longer. To take just one example, research released last year found that vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity (one to two minutes of sudden movement) does actually extend your lifespan.
Members of the public have also spoken to HuffPost UK to share how new hobbies helped them alter their relationship with work and have a more balanced life.