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Does beauty make you happy?

Beauty, clouds

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Every one of us has a unique perception of if. Unless someone asks you to define beauty, you might never pause to think about its role in your life. People may not always agree, but you get to decide whether something you observe is beautiful. When we look at anything, we take note of its shape, color, proportion or form before calling it beautiful.

Beauty was important to our ancestors

However, looking back to what we know about our ancestors, the importance of beauty even then is evident. It is interesting to note that even the crudest tools showed some symmetry and beauty. The teardrop shapes of most of the tools early humans made were likely for a comfortable hold. However, they paid extra attention to create geometric and fractal tools. This is particularly evident in the tools made from bone, which were easier to engrave than stone.

Beauty, ancient tools
Tools made by early humans

Beauty of our environments matters

We have evolved into beings that are happier to live and work in beautiful environments. And it goes even further. Studies have shown that researchers placed two groups of patients with similar medical conditions in two entirely different settings. One group was in a tastefully, newly renovated and decorated ward. In contrast, the other group’s ward was dreary, with stark walls and no decorations. The researchers found that the patients in the ugly surroundings needed more pain medication than those in the renovated ward. Furthermore, the patients in the new ward were all discharged at least two days sooner than the other group.

beauty, deer with antlers
We look for symmetry

Monotony makes us miserable

Researchers used eye-tracking software to measure people’s reactions to what they see.  Participants observed blank walls and detailed architectural ornaments. The results indicate that their gazes lingered on the beautiful objects and briefly brushed over the bare walls. Skin sensor tests in similar conditions provided similar results. However, the analysis of these tests evealed even more interesting facts. Boredom caused raised stress levels and heart rate. Contrarily, aesthetically pleasing environments improved behavior, mood, well-being and cognitive functions.

Beautiful pink rose

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder — but not always

People do not always agree about beauty, and we could even outgrow some of our own ideas. Think back to your teenage years’ fashions, and there will probably be things that you can’t believe you wore. At the time, you might have thought your hairstyle was beautiful — what do you think of it now?

On the other hand, some of our ideas about beauty seem to be hardwired. We all expect things in nature to have perfect fractal patterns, like waves, clouds, flowers and snail shells. Similarly, we subconsciously look for symmetry in trees, stems, blossoms and leaves. If the antlers of a deer are not symmetrical, something must be wrong. Also, if somebody’s face is not perfectly symmetrical, we think something is wrong. We frown at people with bow legs or prominent ears.

snail shells
We search for fractal perfection in nature

Conclusion

We are programmed to search for beauty, and when we find it, we can live, love and work in happiness and harmony. Beauty influences us in many ways without us even being conscious of it. However, we should accept that imperfections in anything we come across can also be beautiful. Beauty encompasses much more than perfection.

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