Throughout history, the definition of beauty and beauty ideals have changed a lot. But there are some patterns that remained: the golden ratio, symmetry, or fractal patterns can be found in art and architecture from our beginning until today.
Beauty patterns that resisted in time come all from nature:
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Beauty is nothing tangible, it only exists in our heads as a pleasant feeling. If we'd have to define it, we perceive something as beautiful if its color, shape, form, or proportion are somehow appealing to us.
Beauty is a very human experience that has been with us for millions of years: it seems that early humans shaped their tools into teardrops only because they liked them better that way, for example.
Our sense of beauty probably evolved from pattern recognition, but it goes beyond that now.
Research shows that we have the lowest common denominator when it comes to beauty. We have a hard time pinning down what beauty is or what is based on, but we somehow recognize it when we see it.
We left the natural world behind and created our own. We made the objects that surround us. And in doing so, we often neglected beauty in favor of functionality, cost, or efficiency.
But humans don't like monotony. Research shows that we keep focusing on details and ornaments in architecture while brushing quickly over black walls. They are no fun to look at and they actually make us miserable.
Surroundings that are aesthetically pleasing to us can improve our well-being, behavior, cognitive function, and mood.
Studies that looked at the main factors influencing the happiness of adults revelead that besides things like good health in a harmonius family life, individual happiness is affected by how beautiful you find the city you live in.
Beauty scored even higher than safety and cleanliness
We all are familiar with the feeling that things are not as they should be in terms of success, relationships, material possessions. This feeling can make you look outwards with envy and inwards with disappointment.
Pop culture, social media and advertisements are not helping either, because they work as a constant reminder that aiming for less than "perfect" equals failure.
In a nutshell, the antidote to dissatisfaction (with looks, lifestyle, relationships, etc) is gratitude. It may sound cheesy but it is thoroughly researched and experimented.
Everybody is familiar with the feeling that things are not as they should be. That you're not successful enough or don't have good relationships. A chronic dissatisfaction makes you look outward with envy and inwards with disappointment. Pop culture, social media and advertising makes this worse and many self-help products imply that it's your fault for not working hard enough on yourself.
It turns out that one of the strongest predictors of how happy people are, and how good they are at dealing with hardships is: Gratitude.
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