Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 14 May |
The Feast of Saint Matthias
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Anxiety? Depression? Hit the Museum


Daniel Esparza - published on 04/23/16

A recently published study confirms engaging in cultural activities has direct effects on our emotional patterns.

A group of researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology recently published, in The Journal of Epidemology and Community Health, a study that proves that those who take part in cultural activities have a significantly smaller possibility to suffer from depression or anxiety.

For both theoretical and practical reasons, the researchers split “cultural activities” into two broad types: creative and receptive. The former are those in which the person gets actively involved in the creation of a “cultural good”: maybe writing a song after taking piano lessons, finishing a portrait after taking some painting classes, etc. The latter implies the reception of “cultural” experiences: visiting a gallery, going to a concert, walking around a museum. In both cases the result was similar: out of a sample of around 50,000 people, those who get involved in cultural activities have a tendency to enjoy a more emotionally healthy and stable lifestyle than those who don’t.

This research used basic statistics, derived from a questionnaire in which the participants had to answer how frequently they enjoyed “cultural” activities, and how these were related to their lifestyle. Having this information allowed the researchers to establish a series of patterns related to both physical and mental health, including a clinical examination of the people who completed the questionnaire, so they could contrast both databases.

Those who frequently engaged in cultural activities, both creative and receptive, did not only have better emotional and mental health – from little to no disposition to depression or anxiety whatsoever — but they, moreover, led happier, more creative, initiative-driven lives.

So yes, the museum is good for you.

Mental HealthPsychology
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
Bret Thoman, OFS
A pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Catherine of Siena
J-P Mauro
We need better church music, say Catholics in the Philippines
Philip Kosloski
What happened between the resurrection and ascension of Jesus?
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
A hint of the mystery of God’s love
Philip Kosloski
Why is Mary depicted standing on a snake?
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.