How art and design affect mental health and your life.

 In this fast-paced world, it can be easy to overlook the more simple and artistic aspects of life. You're always on the go, striving towards your next goal, barely having time to make your bed or eat breakfast, however, taking the time to put art in your home and workspace can make a huge impact in your mood and your physic. 

Seven North touched on this concept lightly in our last blog (read here). The powerful psychological effects that art has on the human brain and behavioral pattern have been scientifically proven study after study. Professor Semir Zeki of the Department of Cognitive Neurology University College London after his lengthy studies on the subject states[read here] 

"What we found is when you look at art – whether it is a landscape, a still life, an abstract or a portrait – there is strong activity in that part of the brain related to pleasure We put people in a scanner and showed them a series of paintings every ten seconds. We then measured the change in blood flow in one part of the brain. The reaction was immediate. What we found was the increase in blood flow was in proportion to how much the painting was liked. The blood flow increased for a beautiful painting just as it increases when you look at somebody you love. It tells us art induces a feel-good sensation direct to the brain." ~Professor Semir Zeki 

Every day, if you stop and take in your environment, you'll see art in every part of life. You can take it even further than that and see that art is just the physical embodiment of our life, our creation, our cultures, our thoughts, our feelings, our need for spiritual stimulation, and its about the pure existence of every material object or non-material thing anything we have thought about or dreamed. A lot of individuals and groups would say that art is not important and that it has no impact on our lives and it seems lately, Art education for adolescents has gradually been lessening in importance. Here at Seven North, we see the consequences of this lack of education; without a strong foundation in art and humanities the results can be seen it a lack of aesthetics' in our cultures and it shows up in everything from Architecture to Movies to the Grid planning of a city. Great examples lay in the city of Clearwater FL where Seven North has recently moved.


This photo shows what you see when you look down the main street in downtown that obviously at in the past you looked out over an incredibly beautiful waterfront West facing view where you could view the islands and sunset unobstructed. Talk about bad designs the waterfront park that is beautiful now has a big concrete bridge for its overhead view. There is no doubt that whoever decided to put this bridge here (and there were other options) failed to receive any worthwhile education in art or design.  

Here's another example of bad city planning 


Why poorly-designed cities are bad for your mental health 

Bad design: metal boxes located on College Green, Dublin to service the new Luas Cross City line.   

‘’The neglect, no doubt, has something to do with the impression that good design – a design which factors in the psychological wellbeing of inhabitants – is a luxury, or at least an added cost. But there’s also a tendency in architecture to make people fit around the design rather than the other way around.” Dr. Paul Keedwell  


Also, without art education adolescents are missing crucial skills they will need in adulthood, skills like critical thinking. Being able to evaluate situations in both analytical ways and emotional. Knowing how to gather the correct information to come to a well thought out conclusion. Another skill would be open-mindedness. It seems not to be too important, however, for anyone to truly learn and grow, they have to be able to evaluate things that might be outside of their own self and beliefs. Only when someone can look outside themselves can they truly begin to grow and experience the world for themselves. “While art and artists are an integral and valued part of many cultures, in American culture, art is often devalued.  Art programs are cut from school budgets, art is often relegated to museums, and debates rage about whether public money should be spent to fund art (currently it is .004% of the national budget).  Recent research may help to”: Professor Semir Zekik.

Historically art has been the ever most present form of both communication and expressionism. Every time periodof every cultureof every part of the world, has an extremely long and lasting history of art. Without art staying important in education and it keeping important in adulthood, any society will lose out on the value of the true expression.  

As a child, you might remember drawing, sketching, coloring or scribbling being in every daily activity. The mind of a child takes creative ideas and makes creative drawings out of what's going on. They use free-flowing lines and are without the mind clutter you might see in there later adulthood. Then in teenage years maybe you tore out magazine pages to stick under your glass top dresser or you started going to concerts and events, maybe at the theater maybe at the book fair, maybe in a classical symphony concert hall or an outdoor stadium concert and you grabbed a poster, your room was cluttered with band posters or other collectibles of your interests at that time all the visuals of your life. Well, did it have a constant effect on your mood every time you walked in? Of course, it did! Why else would you have decorated? Your space is your creation; it's your place to go to recover from your day today. You can enjoy that feeling repeatedly anytime you want. A painting of your favorite animal, an abstract piece that gives your space a modern feel or even a landscape piece that reminds you of home. 

 Art comes in handy in ways that you don’t always think about. When you are sitting in your living or working space and you get overcome with an emotion that makes you think of something you'd wish you were not thinking about. With the right art hanging in your view you can instantly center yourself back into the present in a mood of your choice! 


Decorating doesn’t just have to be for interior designers or for children trying to make their room colorful, it can be for you too!  

Many amazing studies have been completed in the last 10 years clearly showing the powerful effect of art on the brain, so this feeling can be posters with visual images that trigger feelings that change the mental outlook.


 Seven North offers everything from Original paintings to very inexpensive posters; with thousands of Handmade Original prints in a small edition including Intaglio prints like Aquatints, Mezzotints, Etchings, and Silkscreens signed & numbered directly from artist or agents all over the globe. 

Seven North’s Investment Art division in Miami and New York offers you 27 years of experience in asset management, consulting, buying and selling art at any level.  




Iyou're interested in the studies, we have been refereeing to we put them down below.  

The Department of Cognitive Neurology University College London discovered that viewing art gives the same pleasure as falling in love. (read More 

The same part of the brain that is stimulated when you fall for someone romantically is stimulated when you stare at great works of beauty, researchers have discovered. Viewing art that is aesthetically pleasing to you triggers a surge of the feel-good chemical, dopamine, into the orbitofrontal cortex of the brain, resulting in feelings of intense pleasure. Dopamine and the orbitofrontal cortex are both known to be involved in desire and affection and in invoking pleasurable feelings in the brain. It is a powerful effect often associated with love and illicit drug taking.  When we are falling in love, chemicals associated with the reward circuit flood our brain, producing a variety of physical and emotional responses—racing hearts, sweaty palms, flushed cheeks, feelings of passion and anxiety. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol increase during the initial phase of romantic love, marshaling our bodies to cope with the “crisis” at hand. As cortisol levels rise, levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin become depleted. Low levels of serotonin precipitate what Schwartz described as the “intrusive, maddeningly preoccupying thoughts, hopes, terrors of early love”—the obsessive-compulsive behaviors associated with infatuation. 

Being love-struck also releases high levels of dopamine, a chemical that “gets the reward system going,” said Old's. Dopamine activates the reward circuit, helping to make love a pleasurable experience like the euphoria associated with the use of cocaine or alcohol. Scientific evidence for this similarity can be found in many studies, including one conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, and published in 2012 in Science.  

In a series of pioneering brain-mapping experiments, Professor Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist at the University College London, scanned the brains of volunteers as they looked at 28 pictures. 

Related Articles: 

Is it art?  

21 Dec 2010 

They included The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, Bathing at La Grenouillere by Claude Monet and Constable's Salisbury Cathedral. Prof Zeki found that blood flow increased in areas of the brain usually associated with romantic love. "There have been very significant new advances in our understanding of what happens in our brains when we look at works of art," he said. "We have recently found that when we look at things we consider to be beautiful, there is increased activity in the pleasure reward centers of the brain. "There is a great deal of dopamine in this area, also known as the ‘feel-good’ transmitter. The feel-good centers are stimulated, similar to the states of love and desire. The reaction was immediate." The study is currently being peer-reviewed and will be published later this year. The research suggests that art could be used to increase the welfare and mental health of the general public and should be protected from budget cutbacks. Previous research has shown that art can reduce suffering in the hospital and lead to speedier recoveries from ill health. 

Other studies 

Love, Desire, and…. Art! 

A case for funding art. 

Posted Sep 03, 2011 

Cathy Malchiodi Ph.D., LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC 
1. Can drawing, doodling, and painting lead to true happiness?, 

Welcome Department of Cognitive Neurology University College London 

Professor Semir Zeki scanned the brains of volunteers as they looked at pictures, including Bathing at La Grenouillere by Claude Monet 

Looking at an artistic masterpiece such as a Constable, Botticelli or Turner can give you the same pleasure as being in love. 



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  • I love this!!!

    Rosemary Warburton

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