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“I know we call them art museums, but I think they’re really wellbeing centers, because people are coming in—maybe they don’t know that’s what’s about to happen—but you are helping them expand who they are, and give them these three feelings of awe, gratitude, and compassion, that are the keys to living a healthy and meaningful life.”

What exactly is the human mind? This question has occupied Dr. Dan Siegel since he entered the field of psychiatry in the 1980s. Drawing from his experiences on a suicide prevention hotline, his time pursuing dance, and his wide-ranging studies on subjects from complex systems to indigenous traditions, Siegel has worked to define and better understand the human mind. His approach is both neurobiological and takes into account relationships among people and between people and nature. Among other tools that support mental health, Siegel emphasizes the role of art in promoting mental and emotional wellbeing.

In this episode, Siegel speaks with Getty Museum educator Lilit Sadoyan about his definition of the mind, the importance of art, and how we might think about our relationships to each other and our environment. Siegel is a best-selling author, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA.

Lilit Sadoyan leads the Art Impact interns in mindfulness exercises using Vincent van Gogh’s Irises

More to explore:
Dan Siegel
Mindful Awareness Research Center

Lilit Sadoyan: Hello, I am Lilit Sadoyan, a museum educator at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Welcome to Art + Ideas. I am your host for a three-episode series on mindfulness in the museum.
Dan Siegel: I know we call them art museums, but I think they’re really wellbeing centers, because pe...

Music Credits
“The Dharma at Big Sur – Sri Moonshine and A New Day.” Music written by John Adams and licensed with permission from Hendon Music. (P) 2006 Nonesuch Records, Inc., Produced Under License From Nonesuch Records, Inc. ISRC: USNO10600825 & USNO10600824

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This post is part of Art + Ideas, a podcast in which Getty president Jim Cuno talks with artists, writers, curators, and scholars about their work.
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