From scoring a winning goal to being kissed for the first time, our lives are enriched by simple moments of happiness everyday. Actually, for artists and art-lovers alike the happiest moments in life often involve creativity.
So why exactly is art such a powerful agent of happiness? Here's what the experts have to say:
1. Because Art Creates Order Out of Chaos
University of Melbourne resident philosopher Associate Professor John Armstrong theorizes that art creates happiness by helping us make sense of the chaos in our lives.
But they allow us to be active agents of beauty, grace and order.“Creativity essentially involves the achievement of order out of chaos and the progressive development of skill,” he says. “These reverse some of our daily fears: that chaos will overwhelm us, that life will drain away in worry and empty routine . . . To master a piece on the piano, learn how to order a glass of wine in Italian, plant a herb garden or make a book case are not world-transforming achievements, in the big romantic sense. But they allow us to be active agents of beauty, grace and order.”
2. Because Creativity Makes Us Feel Alive
This boosts our resilience and our satisfaction with life—both part of the equation for overall happiness.“Positive emotions and creativity make us feel interested in the world around us.” This, according to a PBS blog post on creativity, leads us to be fascinated and allow ourselves to explore and discover, which in turn makes us feel open and alive. “It’s also what draws us to learn new skills, perspectives, and ideas—resources that we can draw on to solve life’s problems. This boosts our resilience and our satisfaction with life—both part of the equation for overall happiness.”
3. Because Art Distracts Us
Henry David Thorea said that “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” For many, this means that art, as a distraction, allows us to turn our attention on the creative process thus helping us attain happiness. It seems that Picasso agreed with Thorea since he's been quoted to have said “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
4. Because Art is Communication
If a person is communicating, there is a comfort zone.
Art is essentially a form of communication and, according to Paul R. Warner of Brigham Young University, effective communication is one of the surest methods of achieving happiness. “People have a tendency to slide to silence or slide to violence,” says Warner.“If a person is communicating, there is a comfort zone.”
5. Because Art Adds Value to People's Lives
Finally, art makes us happy because it enables us to add value to our own lives and the lives of others. An LSE researcher named George MacKerron found that after intimacy and exercise the activities that make human beings the happiest are all arts-related. Not only are artists making themselves happy during the creation of art, but they also make others happy by creating art which others consume in theaters, libraries and museums.