Art used to reduce stress

Two of the UK’s leading experts on stress were plunged into the media spotlight this week after advising stressed workers and executives to take time out of their busy schedule for art!

Professor Terry Looker and Dr Olga Gregson, of the Department of Biological Sciences at MMU, teamed up with Manchester Art Gallery to select paintings seen as therapeutic.

The gallery is offering lunchtime tranquillity tours for stressed out office workers and sought expert advice from the academics who specialise in stress management, physiology and health.

The tours highlight paintings from Pre-Raphaelite to modern, abstract works and are specially chosen to relax. They include paintings ‘The Waters of Lethe’ by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, ‘Thomson’s Aeolian Harp’ by Turner and ‘Summer in Cumberland’ by James Durden.

Dr Gregson, author of the “R2 plan” (Restoring the Balance), a ten-point guide for dealing with everyday stress, said: “Stress can have detrimental effects on our health and well-being. Our research shows that art can have a significant impact on state of mind and stress reduction."

Dr Gregson, who appeared on BBC NW, Granada, and the Richard and Judy show to discuss the “art attacks”, said: “Workers coming on the tours are returning to their desks rejuvenated, relaxed and more productive.”

Terry and Olga have recently written the MMU Guide to Managing Stress, distributed to the University’s 3,500 employees.

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