Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Picture of Health

An article in the Sept./Oct. issue of Arthritis Today magazine piqued my interest. It was titled "Picture of Health". I have written here before that creating art can help you feel better. This article starts out mentioning that, as well as that research has shown that having a beautiful view outside a hospital window can reduce pain, shorten length of stay and improve mood.
The main part of the article is about a study that showed that looking at comforting images (family members, nature, etc.) measurably improved quality of life, lowered anxiety and depression, and provided a better overall experience to the oncology patients in the study. 'Studies show that looking at an enjoyable image makes an area of the brain that is rich in anti-brain, feel-good endorphins become active."
There is evidence that both creating art and viewing images can lead to a meditative mindset, focusing the mind and thus blocking out pain and unpleasant thoughts.
If you create art, create more. If not, give it a try. If that doesn't appeal to you, surround yourself with images you find appealing. Put pictures up on the wall. Set up a "rogue's gallery"- a wall full of family photos. Frame posters, magazine covers, even album covers (remember when music came on large, black plastic disks?) You can create a digital photo album of your favorite places, people, pets etc, in a digital frame, or online. http://virtual-photo-album.winsite.com/ has a variety of options, both free and otherwise, including some that you can print out and some that can be used as your screensaver. At www.flickr.com you can not only upload your own photos, but also browse through thousands of photos from around the world on virtually (pun intended) any subject. Once you have your images, look at them. It will reduce your pain and improve your mood.

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