A surprising specialty for body and soul
Experiencing great art or awe-inspiring nature is not only food for the soul, it could be good for the body too, a study suggests.
Seeing such spine-tingling wonders as the Grand Canyon and the Sistine Chapel or listening to Schubert's Ave Maria can fight off disease, the researchers said.
Scientists said that the emotions provoked by nature and art boosted the immune system by lowering levels of chemicals that cause inflammation that can trigger diabetes, heart attacks and other illnesses.
In two experiments more than 200 young adults reported on a given day the extent to which they experienced positive emotions such as amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, joy, love and pride.
Samples of gum and cheek tissue taken the same day showed those who experienced more of these - in particular wonder and amazement - had the lowest levels of the cytokine Interleukin 6, which is a marker of inflammation.
Dr Jennifer Stellar, of Toronto University, said: "Our findings demonstrate positive emotions are associated with the markers of
Dr Dacher Kelthner, a psychologist from University of California, Berkeley, writing in the journal Emotion, added: "That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests the things
we do to experience these emotions - a walk in nature, losing oneself
in music, beholding art - has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy.
The Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 11th February 2015
You are listening to Ave Maria (Franz Schubert, 1797-1828)
performed by the London Symphony Orchestra