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Art Gallery Reduces Stress Levels
Written by Mark Millard   

Research by Professor Angela Clow of Westminster University suggests that a brief lunchtime visit to an art gallery can lower worker's stress levels.

Professor Clow used a saliva test and a questionnaire to measure the stress levels of 25 City workers before and after they visited the Guildhall art gallery. After 40 minutes viewing the collection, the saliva samples registered a 32% drop in cortisol (a stress hormone) and participants reported a 45% reduction in how stressed they actually felt.

This drop in cortisol was very rapid and substantial, under normal circumstances such a drop would usually take about 5 hours. However, not everyone was equally affected, the cortisol levels of 9 people were largely unchanged. It was the 16 people who arrived at the gallery with the highest levels of stress who experienced the greatest improvements, and their cortisol levels returned to near normal.

Whether this level of stress reduction was specifically due to the art itself or to other factors, like just getting out of the office into the quiet of the gallery is unclear. Either way it is a very positive and powerful effect that can easily be put to good use.

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