Dutch Study Suggests Art and Music Save Lives, Research in Favor of Expression

By Ian Holubiak on Jan 17, 2014 02:53 PM EST

When I was nine years old, my father purchased me my very first instrument: an electric guitar. When I walked over to look at some of the various brass and woodwinds on display, my father was pulled to the side and given a very specific word of advice: Don't buy him a guitar, get him a library card.

Instead of heeding the wise man's call, he spent the next decade supporting my musical endeavors. And even to this day, he tells me the benefits of writing music and storytelling through my instrument.

Little did he know that it may literally be the thing that keeps me alive.

With the advancements in modern science, studies on health show the benefits of stimulating our minds and keeping in check our thoughts and mood. A brain set aside waits to die--even Dylan says, "He not busy bein' born is busy dyin'."

But what are positive ways to strengthen one's immune system and perpetuate life? What can we produce as humans that will ultimately better our consciousness and spirit? Perhaps the answer to this question lies in our creativity, rather than tangible, physical labor. Because with labor comes the almightiest of killers: stress.

In a new study on past and present artists and musicians from the Netherlands, researchers suggest that the toll of creating art and music correlates with a longer and more fulfilling life.

"For those born in the 18th century or first-half of the 19th century, the life expectancy of musicians and writers who made it to age 50 was roughly in line with that of the upper class," writes Pacific Standards' Tom Jacobs.

"This suggests--but does not prove--that the health benefits of creative activity may have been just as effective then as they are today. (Given the aforementioned infectious diseases, it's particularly intriguing to note a 2002 study that found playing music strengthens the immune system)," he continues.

Researchers of the data cite that they did not reach any definite conclusions. The effects of music and art still remain a plausible mystery but, with this new data, they hope to inspire researchers around the globe to conduct their own experiments and add to the existing data.

Without a way to vent, in comes the dealings of that dark and twisted fantasy we all refer to as "l-i-f-e."

Thus, here's the man, himself, to ease the brain.

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TagsBob Dylan, Miles Davis, Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard, The Netherlands

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