Creativity is Good for Your Health

A study conducted by Dr. Gene D. Cohen of George Washington University suggests the health effects of participating in music, art, dance and poetry programs.

The results - people got healthier and happier.

"After a year, we saw actual improvement," says Gene D. Cohen of George Washington University, who headed the study of about 300 men and women over age 65. The study, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Institute of Mental Health and other organizations, took place in three cities, Washington, D.C., Brooklyn, N.Y., and San Francisco.

Half of the people in the study engaged in the cultural programs, the other half were the “control group." Both groups were similar in health and lived alone. Both groups were monitored on a range of measures from physical strength to mental health and social behavior.

Preliminary findings indicated impressive benefits of a creative fitness regimen. After a year, those in the cultural study group were healthier than they were when the study began. They were also in better shape than those in the control group. They reported better overall health, fewer doctor visits, less use of medications, and fewer falls and hip damage. They also reported less depression, less loneliness and higher morale.

All this suggests that mental activities play a significant role in health. It's common sense that diet and exercise matter to health. But it's nice to know that throwing paint on a canvas or writing a poem matters, too….maybe just as much.


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Bonnie Morét is an award-winning photographer recognized by The Georgia Council of the Arts as "an exceptional representation of contemporary Georgia art work." Her photography is featured on Georgia Public Broadcast's Georgia Traveler. Her exhibitions include Fifth Annual Exposure Awards at Musee du Louvre in Paris, France, Art Takes Miami at Scope Art during Art Basel Miami, Metro Montage XIII at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, World of Water at the Georgia Aquarium, Open Walls at Black Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon, Wholly Georgia: A Look at the Effects of Southern Religious Culture, sponsored by the Art History League and Georgia State University, at Mint Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, 6x6 at the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center in Rochester, New York, @Phonography: Dialogue in the Wireless Age, at 3 Ring Circus in New Orleans, Louisiana, and About Lands and Lives of the Civil War at the 6th Cavalry Museum in Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia. Her photography appears in Modern Luxury/The Atlantan, Jezebel Magazine, and hangs in the executive offices at the Georgia State Capitol as part of the Art of Georgia exhibit. Corporate clients include Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta History Center, Chanel Cosmetics, Christian Dior Cosmetics, Sharp Mountain Vineyards, PM Realty Group, Granite Properties, Road Atlanta, Patrón Tequila, StubHub, CBM Records and The Washington Auto Show.