How (And Why) To Find More Beauty in the Everyday

The Science of Happiness

Jan 18 2024 • 18 mins

What happens when we intentionally look for beautiful things in our day-to-day lives? We explore a lab-tested practice shown to help you feel happier.

Link to Transcript: http://tinyurl.com/yretvrkp

Episode summary:

When was the last time you witnessed a beautiful moment? Maybe it was a striking sunset, a kind exchange between strangers, or a hearty laugh between two friends. Beautiful moments surround us, and research suggests that taking the time to admire them can actually benefit our health and happiness. For our show, restorative justice advocate Darnell Washington looked for 9 beautiful things each day and reflected on them. In doing so, he recognized how admiring different types of beauty from nature to the goodness of others, can have a powerful impact on his own humanity. Later, we hear from the psychologist who created the practice, René T. Proyer, about how making it a point to notice different kinds of beauty benefits our happiness and reduces depression.

Practice:

  1. Every night for at least one week, set about 15 minutes before going to bed to think about nine beautiful things that happened during the day, 3 each in the following categories.

  2. Write down three beautiful things in human behavior (morally, positively valued behavior, ie good deeds).

  3. Write down three things you experienced as beautiful in nature and/or the environment.

  4. Write down three beautiful things in general that you noticed during the day  (referring to aesthetics, like art, music, architecture, etc).

  5. Note why you found each of these nine things beautiful.

Today’s guests:

Darnell Washington is a formerly incarcerated restorative justice advocate from California.

Listen to Darnell’s Ted Talk: http://tinyurl.com/cujz79fk

René T. Proyer is a professor and researcher at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.

Learn about René’s work: http://tinyurl.com/4sa9vye9

Follow René on Twitter: http://tinyurl.com/3x5986u6

Resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

Finding Beauty in the Everyday (The Science of Happiness Podcast): http://tinyurl.com/2w2ht55h

Why Seeing Beauty Matters, Even in the Midst of War: http://tinyurl.com/4zy436xk

How Nature Can Make You Kinder, Happier, and More Creative: http://tinyurl.com/d2vzpsaj

Finding Awe in the Ordinary: http://tinyurl.com/aavr2pkv

More Resources on Appreciating Beauty:

BBC - The neuroscience of beauty: What your brain finds beautiful – and how this shapes your thoughts: http://tinyurl.com/47s6zcre

TED - Nature. Beauty. Gratitude: http://tinyurl.com/upnrzthc

CNN - It’s the little things: Why animals, sunsets and coffee make us happy: http://tinyurl.com/yckephaf

We want to hear from you! What beautiful moment have you noticed recently? Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.

Help us share The Science of Happiness!

Rete us and share this link with someone who might like the show: http://tinyurl.com/yfsx9zwp

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