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Being attentive to something beautiful, and giving sincere appreciation for it, is an especially powerful way to practice mindfulness.
Appreciation puts us in a non-judgmental and receptive frame of mind, opening us to the uplifting and inspiring effects of beauty.
During difficult days when your mood is funky or you feel restless, being purposely attentive to lovely objects of art is a calming, restorative activity. Fortunately, despite the missteps made by human kind, we have created a huge store of artistic beauty that all of us can tap into and enjoy.
Although people have their own opinions about what is beautiful, it seems that all human brains react the same way to those things considered beautiful – or things considered ugly. This was revealed in a study done by Semir Zeki at the University College of London. Zeki showed paintings to a group of individuals who naturally had different ideas about which ones were lovely and which were not.
When individuals where shown paintings that they earlier classified as being beautiful, their brains indicated increased activity in the orbito-frontal cortex region. This part of our brain is associated with emotion and reward. When the same individuals looked at paintings that they earlier had labeled ugly, the motor cortex area of their brain fired-up, implying that the brain wanted to escape the experience.
So whatever you consider beautiful will cause a positive response in your brain’s emotion and reward center. Enjoy!
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness." ~ John Keats
Source for research study: Seed Magazine
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