It can be hard to appreciate beauty when life is far from perfect, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and overpowered by stress, struggles, and negativity. When facing a mental health challenge, whether it’s a bad day, a tough situation, a problematic relationship, a diagnosis of mental illness, or something else, it’s natural to concentrate on that. Unfortunately, when we do that, we’re giving the problem our almost full attention. This increases the problem while depleting our energy and sense of well-being. It’s possible to shift this focus and increase wellbeing.
We can enhance our mental health long before the problem is gone by shifting our perspective. What we attend to and how we look at something are crucial. Our perspective helps determine whether we are crushed by obstacles or whether we thrive in spite of them.
Appreciate Beauty: Why Bother
Perspective, in part, is about how we look at things, and it’s also about what we choose to look at. If we only see the negative, we become rooted in it, blind to everything else. If we train ourselves to seek the good in our lives, we become more balanced. Our problems don’t disappear because of our shift in focus, but the power they have over us diminishes significantly.
Positive psychology identifies character strengths that all people have (we all have each of the character strengths, in our own unique proportions and degrees). Among them is appreciation of beauty and excellence. Appreciating beauty and excellence is a component of perspective. When we can find the beauty around us and understand that our world, our life, isn’t purely negative, we enhance our well-being.
Appreciation of beauty is valuable in its own right and as a tool that serves to motivate us to find and create more goodness. It even helps us rise above things like anxiety (Read The Relationship between Anxiety and Awe on HealthyPlace.). Because appreciating beauty is so good for our mental health, a mental health tip (assignment) for your day is to find little things to appreciate throughout the day — today, and every day.