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Natural Awakenings

The Arts Relieve Holiday Stress: Artful Ways to Reduce Anxiety

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can leave us stressed, fatigued and even anxious or depressed. But according to studies sponsored by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Nord-Trøndelag Health Study, there are many artful ways to relieve these conditions: Painting, dancing, playing a musical instrument or even attending a theater performance or concert may help us feel better, healthier and more upbeat.

The researchers worked with more than 50,000 participants, using questionnaires, interviews, clinical examinations, and blood and urine samples to assemble detailed health profiles. The data was controlled for chronic illness, social relations, smoking and alcohol.

What most surprised the researchers was that the study findings held true regardless of socioeconomic status; whether a truck driver or bank president, participating in the arts had a positive effect on the individual’s sense of health and well-being.

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