6 Ways Visiting a Museum Calms Your Anxiety and Aids Your Mental Health
No matter who or where we are, nearly everyone can feel down, stressed, overwhelmed, or otherwise challenged by anxiety in some way.
Natural parts of life, including loneliness, stress, worry, and big life changes can all lead to anxiety, whether acute or chronic. Ignoring or suppressing these emotions can cause an individual to develop a mental illness like depression or anxiety.
Of course, there is nothing to be ashamed of if you feel these emotions. Even if your emotions or symptoms are the result of mental illness, you can still take control and learn to both challenge and cope with them.
The road to self-improvement and recovery can be a bumpy one, but seeking out the guidance of a mental health professional can undoubtedly make things easier.
Fortunately, therapy and other mental health services/resources are more accessible than ever. For more information regarding treatment options, including online therapy, click here.
However, even with a treatment plan in place, it helps to have ideas to help you reduce anxiety and feel better in the moment. Visiting a museum is one wonderful way to do so.
Why visit a museum?
Museums exist for all sorts of specific areas of study, from art to science to history, and can be not just entertaining, but genuinely beneficial.
The atmosphere of a museum (quiet, calm, and beautiful) can be incredibly calming. It can also help you take your mind off of what’s bothering you and inspire positive thought or reflection.
Museums can be found in small towns and big cities alike. They tend to be an affordable option, too; in fact, many museums allow visitors to enter for free!
Top 6 Reasons to Visit a Museum When You Feel Anxious
Aside from the benefits listed above, museums can help you feel better in the following ways:
- They get you up and moving. Did you know that even just being on your feet and walking around can serve as exercise? Especially when managing feelings of anxiety, it can seem overwhelming to try to incorporate traditional physical activity (going to the gym, for instance) into your routine. Many museums feature large rooms and multiple floors; while it may not feel like vigorous exercise, walking through a museum can still get your blood flowing and heart pumping, which can instantly boost your mood.
- They can help you focus less on what’s going on in your head. When you’re experiencing anxiety, you may notice your mind feels as if it’s doing circles around one topic or flitting rapidly between several. Anxious thought patterns are certainly no fun, and they can be difficult to break out of. Going to a museum may help distract you from anxious thoughts in a healthy way. Looking at beautiful or interesting artifacts or displays, reading the material provided at museums, and learning more about new topics can all help you refocus your thoughts on something more positive.
- They might inspire you. If you have ever wanted to create your own art, think up your own invention, or aspire to do something significant for the world around you, a museum may be the perfect place to gain inspiration. Oftentimes, anxiety and other mental health concerns prevent us from doing the things we love or trying new things. A visit to the museum may be able to help remind you of some of the things that matter in life: your aspirations, interests, and future.
- You could learn about a new hobby or interest. Not only do museums reflect the past, they can also reflect the future, including new interests you hadn’t considered before. You may, for instance, discover a new passion for a specific area of study, or learn about a specific artistic technique you were previously unaware of. A new hobby or area of interest, whatever it may be, can bring purpose to one’s life and help to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety.
- They aid in purposeful alone time. While it may seem counterintuitive, being alone is an inevitable part of life and can actually serve to benefit you in some ways. Learning how to spend time by yourself without feeling lonely can help immensely with anxiety; it can also give you the space to pursue activities that bring you joy. Museums, with their various exhibits and focus on quiet observation, can be a great place to practice alone time. While it may seem awkward or scary, it is very common to see other solo patrons in museums.
- They provide a way to bond with some friends. Just as museums are enjoyable alone, they are also the perfect activity to enjoy with others, if you choose to do so. In many museums, conversation about the works shown is encouraged, and this could lead to lots of enjoyable conversations with friends or family.
Museums aren’t necessarily what comes to our mind when we’re looking for activities to help manage anxiety, but maybe they should be! Whatever your interests, there is a museum for you.
Not only can museums provide entertainment and education, but for many, they can also provide a form of therapy.
Even just having a reason to get out of the house and do a meaningful activity can brighten your day.
If you manage feelings of anxiety, consider challenging yourself and trying out a museum visit. You may be surprised by just how much it can turn an anxious day into a happy and productive one.