I just saw the movie Les Miserables and was pretty blown away. As a former professional actress, turrned motivational speaker, I not only understand what makes a BRILLIANT performance (as was the case with so many of the actors in this film) but I also have witnessed first hand the powerful affect that a strong theatrical experience can have on the audience. They can be moved to tears, or laugh so hard they fall out of their chairs. They can be inspired to think about their life choices and how they want to impact others. They can objectively see behaviors that are self-destructive – that they might NOT be able to see if someone pointed it out in THEM. All art, but especially theater and film, gives us a ringside seat to life with a capital L.
And as if that wasn't enough – apparently there are also health benefits associated with the arts! Lars Bygren, Ph.D. at the University of Umea in Sweden conducted a study of almost thirteen thousand people. It revealed that those who participated in cultural activities least frequently were one–and-a-half times more likely to die during the nine-year study than those who participated most frequently. The activities included reading, playing an instrument, and going to museums, concerts, the movies and the theater.
So get thee to the movies. Just hold off on the popcorn with fake butter.
From your motivational speaker, Linda Larsen, still crying from her Les Mis experience