Across the country a trend is arising that has shoppers forgoing the hustle and bustle of the mall and all of its material goods and turning instead to experiential gifts. In Columbus, many arts organizations are capitalizing on this new trend by developing new ways to give experiences in the arts as gifts.
On average, people are more satisfied with experiences rather than material goods. Research by Thomas Gilovich, a professor of psychology at Cornell University, has shown that over time, people have an increased satisfaction with their experiential purchases and have decreased satisfaction with their material purchases. An American Express Life Twist study revealed that 70 percent of people feel that engaging in a new experience makes them feel more fulfilled.
Cooking classes, yoga workshops and food tours are all on the rise for holiday giving, but research suggests a compelling reason to give a more art-centric experience. Engaging in creative activities, either as a “hands on” experience, or as an observer, has proven to enhance moods and emotions and reduce stress and depression, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health. Another study in the Journal of Applied Gerontology linked dancing and movement training with life satisfaction. The study showed that adults who engaged in dance classes felt more self-confidence, pride, accomplishment, group cohesiveness and an overall sense of improved life satisfaction. Music, like visual art, has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Listening to music has also shown to reduce pain, improve immune functioning and aid memory retention, according to an article by Huffington Post.
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