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Sure, it can expose you to fine art – but it can also slash your stress by 60%! That’s according to IULM University in Milan, Italy. The researchers measured people’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol, before and after they visited a museum. And they found just spending a few minutes admiring paintings or sculpture dramatically reduced stress. Their cortisol dropped 60%! Plus, the study participants said they felt happier and calmer. It works because, when we’re looking at art, we’re in the moment. And Stanford psychologists say that looking at something awe-inspiring makes us more patient and unselfish, and it makes time seem to slow down. Art also fills us with positive emotions, which lower levels of inflammatory proteins, reducing stress and lowering our heart rate.

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