The Art of Calm
If you're feeling over-worked and stressed, then popping in to your nearest art gallery could be the answer.
A group of 28 stressed-out City high-fliers were studied as they spent their lunch break viewing art.
After just 40 minutes wandering round the Guildhall Art Gallery in the City of London, they reported a decrease in their stress levels.
Saliva samples from the men and women were found to contain 32 per cent less cortisol stress hormone than they did before the visit.
Normally, it would take about five hours for cortisol concentrations to fall to this extent.
The Guildhall collection includes paintings by Constable and the Pre-Raphaelites. The City workers were also given an audio-visual tour of London's only Roman amphitheatre.
Study leader Professor Angela Clow, from the University of Westminster, said: Measurement of cortisol in saliva is an effective way of quantifying a person's stress levels.
Although we can't live without cortisol, too much can be harmful.
People often ask me what they can do about their stressful lives, this study shows that we can take control and make ourselves feel and be better. It does make a difference.