Happiness Upgrade Podcast

S1 E11: Get happier fast by looking at art

May 24, 2022 Gabrielle Lichterman Season 1 Episode 11
Happiness Upgrade Podcast
S1 E11: Get happier fast by looking at art
Show Notes Transcript

When you want a quick, easy boost in mood, gaze at beautiful art. Tune into this week’s episode to find out why admiring works of art are proven to perk you up. And find out my 7 suggestions for finding art all around you. 

Check out the book that inspired this podcast, THE HAPPINESS UPGRADE: ONE SMALL STEP UP TO A HAPPIER LIFE (available at Amazon) at HappinessUpgradePress.com. 

Learn more about the Happiness Upgrade Podcast at HappinessUpgradePress.com.

Follow @HappinessUpgrade on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

When you’re in need of a Happiness Upgrade, gaze at a drawing, painting, photograph, sculpture or other work of visual art that you find beautiful. Researchers have found that viewing artwork you enjoy gives you an instant bump in good feelings.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Happiness Upgrade Podcast. I’m your host, Gabrielle Lichterman, health journalist and author of the book The Happiness Upgrade: One Small Step Up to a Happier Life. Every Monday in this podcast, I share one easy study-backed method to improve your mood, plus my 7 suggestions for ways to try the technique during your week. And now for this week’s Happiness Upgrade tip….

At some point, you may realize you need a break from stress and anxiety. Or you want to ease a sad mood. Or you may simply want to make a good mood even better. 

No matter why you need a lift in joy, there’s a proven and quick way to get it: Admire art!

Looking at drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, topiaries or other works of visual art that you personally find beautiful gives you an instant bump in good feelings, according to a study out of University College London in the United Kingdom.

What is it about gazing at art that has a mood-lifting effect?

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of volunteers, the study authors found that looking at works of art you find appealing triggers greater blood flow to an area of the brain that spurs sensations of pleasure and reward (the medial orbito-frontal cortex) and an area that’s involved with warm, loving emotions (the caudate nucleus), making them more active. 

The result is that you feel both a pleasurable and loving feeling, which turns your mood in an upward, positive direction. 

So, how can you use the information you just learned to give yourself a Happiness Upgrade this week? Here are my 7 suggestions: 

1. Visit a museum or art gallery. Or, check out an exhibit being displayed in a school, café or retail store. I recently visited my local fine arts museum in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida with a friend to see a limited-time exhibit of noted female photographers. I was excited to see prints of artists I loved, such as Sally Mann, and learn about other photographers I wasn’t familiar with. I left that exhibit feeling happier for hours.

2. Look for free online art museum tours. One example I feel is particularly great to try is Google.com/culturalinstitute. This website is a free portal to a wide range of museums around the world. You select one you’re interested in, then you can take a virtual walk through the museum.  

3. Attend an art opening. Virtually every town and city has openings for local professional artists and students who are starting out. And I promise you that all of them would be thrilled to have you attend their openings. You can find them at galleries, museums, libraries and coffeeshops. Look for them in your local arts websites, neighborhood social media groups or by calling locations that host art openings to get their calendar of events.

4. Head to a bookstore or library and leaf through books featuring your favorite visual artists. Pick the medium and genre you love the most, or choose something new you’ve been meaning to learn more about.

5. Attend a craft fair or local outdoor art exhibit. Not only will you be able to see handspun arts and crafts from your own area, you can usually also meet the artist behind these creations. Can’t head out? Then log onto Etsy.com and peruse the handmade goods and art that have made the online retailer Etsy.com so famous.

6. Bookmark websites of your favorite visual artists on your computer, phone or other device. Then, when you need a quick pick-me-up, you’ll be able to go to your favorite art right away.

7. Create your own art and display it. As I mentioned a few moments ago, I love photography, and I’m actually an amateur photographer myself. For a recent birthday, I had a collection of my photos printed, then hung them in inexpensive frames around my living room. I may not be the best photographer in the world, but seeing my own artistic creations fills me with joy every single time I look at my photos. I think you’d feel the same way, too.

Those were my 7 suggestions for finding social groups that can give you a Happiness Upgrade this week. I hope you find them helpful.

Thank you for joining me for another episode of the Happiness Upgrade Podcast. I hope the mood-boosting tips you heard today help you give yourself a Happiness Upgrade. 

This podcast was inspired by my book, The Happiness Upgrade: One Small Step Up to a Happier Life. This book shows you how small, easy actions halt an unwanted negative mood and lead to a rise in happiness. You can find my book, The Happiness Upgrade, at Amazon. 

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to this podcast and share it with friends. There’s a new episode every Monday.

To learn more about the Happiness Upgrade Podcast, visit HappinessUpgrade.com. And follow me on TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching @happinessupgrade.

The Happiness Upgrade Podcast is written, edited and produced by me, Gabrielle Lichterman. If you like this show, please rate it. This helps other listeners find independently-created podcasts like mine. 

I would love to connect with you and know how you give yourself a Happiness Upgrade. So, send me an email at Gabrielle@HappinessUpgradePress.com. 

I hope your week is filled with happiness!