Van Gough Helps With Mental Health

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John Zaller HeadshotHere’s a way you can jumpstart a good mood for Mental Health Awareness Month: By immersing yourself in Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience (open in major cities throughout the country), which features some of the artist’s most famous spring paintings like Almond Blossoms, Fishing in Spring, and other iconic paintings like flowering orchard, sunflowers and irises. Changing your mindset and environment can help, and ironically from an artist who suffered severe undiagnosed mental problems before taking his own life. John Zaller shares the history of mental health problems Van Gogh endured throughout his career, including his lifestyle choices that contributed to these, as well as his enormous willpower, resilience and perseverance traits that propelled him to keep on painting, even during the most difficult periods in his life.

Zaller also highlighs spring paintings to spot at the Van Gogh Immersive experience that can be mood shifters. A recent study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, found that briefly viewing digital art can lead to lower negative mood, anxiety, and loneliness, as well as higher personal view of well-being. Zaller says even if you have been to the Van Gogh Immersive Experience previously, experiencing it again can be helpful in elevating your mood. Studies show that returning to familiar content (be it movies, TV reruns or museums) can also be calming and relieve stress because when the mind is familiar with content it has seen before, it knows what to expect.

Researchers found that additional benefits of familiar content may also include restored energy levels, thereby motivating minds to do more afterwards. Zaller is a mastermind in the immersive art movement as an award-winning curator of immersive exhibitions (including the famous Monet and Titanic immersive experiences and the new Dinos Alive exhibition) that he uses to engage the next generation of museum goers through audio and visual storytelling and active engagement. Learn more at

John Zaller, Executive Producer, Exhibition Hub visits with Mark Alyn on this episode of Late Night Health. listen to John & Mark here:

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