Art museums plant seeds of human flourishing

Art museums plant seeds of human flourishing

I’ve long argued that happiness and mental health are NOT JUST psychological issues.

Happiness and mental health can obviously be influenced by psychological factors, such as attitudes and actions, interpersonal relationships and more.

But at the same time, there’s no doubt that happiness and mental health are also affected by politics and culture, by environmental concerns and social equity and, well, so much more including ART…

… which is why I love and am sharing this great article from Penn Today by Luis Melecio-Zambrano …

At the close of World War I, Claude Monet gifted some of his paintings of water lilies to France to be a “monument for peace” that might offer a moment of tranquility for citizens recovering from a troubled time. Monet might be pleased then to find out that his works and the many others that populate art museums have done that and much more, according to a literature review published in The Journal of Positive Psychology by postdoctoral fellow Katherine Cotter and Professor of Practice James Pawelski, researchers at the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

The paper, which adds to the growing body of literature in the relatively new field of the Positive Humanities, suggests that visiting art museums can help improve human flourishing by boosting well-being and reducing negative mental states such as stress and symptoms of depression. The Positive Humanities use multidisciplinary perspectives to explore the relationship between the arts and humanities and human flourishing.

Pawelski describes a fundamental approach of the field by comparing it to his grandparents’ garden: “I spent a lot of time weeding, but we had to spend a lot of time planting, too.” Most human health interventions focus on “pulling weeds,” reducing ill-being by treating disease or disorder, says Pawelski, who directs the Humanities and Human Flourishing Project at Penn. But cultivating well-being—finding strength, meaning, and joy—is just as important to human flourishing. “It was the combination of planting and weeding that was crucial to getting the harvest,” he says…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE