The benefits of heading to your local museum

Apr 8, 2015

One of the major perks of freelancing is the freedom to sneak in a day trip to a museum or other cultural event, without having to endure the weekend masses (when you’re not juggling a massive workload, that is. )

Here are five reasons you should put down the laptop and head out to your local museum!

**1. Museums reduce stress and ease anxiety. **

A study out of the Norwegian University for Science and Technology found that engaging in cultural activities and appreciating art can help lower risk for anxiety and depression. Men in particular scored lower on tests of anxiety and depression after observing art or participating in cultural outings.

2. Museums spark inspiration

Museums inspire both students and members of the community across all age ranges, according to a study from the University of Leicester. Researchers cite museums as a place of “enhanced achievement,” stimulating creativity and helping visitors “go beyond what they think they can do.”

3. Museums restore your ability to focus

When you’re working tirelessly and hit a mental wall…you know what to do! Researcher Jan Packer at the University of Queensland in Australia has found that museums can help restore your ability to focus attention by allowing you to “shift mental gears” and become immersed in your surroundings.

Museums can help improve intellectual performance by “engaging your attention in an effortless way,” occupying your mind with interesting content, and satisfying your personal interests. Studies have found that visiting a museum can be a restorative experience all around, promoting “peace, tranquility and reflection.”

4. Museums make you less lonely

A Senior Lecturer in Biology at University College London found that museums are especially effective among traditionally marginalized, isolated people, like the elderly or unemployed. Museums often also serve as community centers for gatherings such as low-cost classes, community art shows, and other forms of arts education.

5. Museums can make you happier

Spending money on experiences instead of material purchases can make you happier, according to a study conducted by Harris Interactive. When money’s tight, you might shy away from spending on a one-off experience like a museum trip or a concert, though these experiences can ultimately make us happier. (Plus, plenty of museums are free!)

What do you think, freelancers? Do museums inspire or revitalize you during a busy week?