The science behind using art to reduce stress and increase creativity
“As ten-thousand studies have shown, when you are chronically stressed, you’re less able to be at your best. Particularly when you’re talking about a knowledge economy which really places a high premium on creativity.Dr. Rick Hanson, Ph.D.
Stress reduction is a huge part of Health and Safety research and legislation, plays a significant role in management training and literature, and even has an economic impact. Consider these findings from both the EU and the US:
Studies suggest that stress is a factor in between 50% and 60% of all lost working days. This represents a huge cost in terms of both human distress and impaired economic performance. – Jukka Takala, Director, European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
According to one survey, 80% of employees reported feeling stressed at work sometimes and 60% of absenteeism was associated with stress. – The American Institute of Stress
One simple action to help diminish stress is to consider the artwork in your workspace.
Sound too good to be true? A 2008 study concluded that:
participants experienced less state anger when there were art posters (of any type) in the office setting than when there were no art posters at all; people tend to be less stressed in offices with art posters – Kweon, Byoung-Suk et al.
“Anger and Stress: The Role of Landscape Posters in an Office Setting.” Environment and Behavior. 40, 3 (May 2008): 355–381.
We can draw several significant conclusions from this:
- The objects we place in a space have an impact on those who use that space
- We need to give consideration to those objects (consider doing an art audit)
- stress diminishes productivity, creativity, and affects the bottom line
- Art is a low-cost, aesthetic, and flexible contribution to diminishing workplace stress