Why Looking At Aweinspiring Art Could Lead To A Happier, Healthier Life

Why Looking At Aweinspiring Art Could Lead To A Happier, Healthier Life

It could be a sunset, an uplifting orchestral number, a stunning photo, something that moves you or makes you cry. Experts believe that the constant search for these pleasurable experiences leads to a happy and healthy life.

People admire nature, religion and music, as well as visual art or architecture. "We feel it especially when we encounter things that are beyond our control, incomprehensible and mysterious," said Dr. Deutscher Keltner in an interview with CNN. "And such experiences lead to wonder and thought and imagination."

Keltner has studied human emotions for decades. He is also the co-founder and director of the Center for Greater Good Science at UC Berkeley, a research institute that studies questions about our social and emotional well-being. His latest "Respect". The New Science of Everyday Miracles explores the social, physical, and mental benefits of these powerful emotions and how they can change your life.

From an anthropological perspective, Keltner explores how these emotions shape our social cohesion. "As a species, we are very intertwined," he said. "However, the main challenge to healthy social networks, which are critical to our health, is excessive self-interest."

According to him, the power of fear makes us go beyond our desires. Keltner said it "brings out my voice" and ultimately "makes you want to share things and collaborate with others." A decades-long Harvard study has shown a strong connection between relationships with close people and our overall happiness and health.

© via CNN Visitors look at three giant paintings about Buddhism and materialism at the six-story Museum of Modern Art, or MOCA, in Bangkok, Thailand. – Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket/Getty Images

But is finding wonder in art as simple as looking at a beautiful painting? Keltner says the answer is complex.

In the year In 2017, he co-authored a study that examined the self-reported emotions of more than 850 participants who watched more than 2,000 short video clips. The researchers recorded 27 emotions, some of which are more likely to occur together and therefore are related. Research has shown that awe is a separate and distinct emotion from beauty, although it is often lumped together with 'awe' and 'awe'. Keltner therefore concludes that it is important, even if it is difficult to distinguish between pleasant stimuli and fear-inducing stimuli.

He says look at something known for beauty. We know we see beauty when we look at pictures that fit our worldview, such as paintings of rural mountain landscapes. But Keltner argues that great art happens "when expectations are violated, when things are left out of place or improvised". It is not like beauty, but appreciation is wide and mysterious.

Not enough hit value though. In the same 2017 study, fear, along with disgust, fear, terror or anxiety, rarely occurs. In essence, what separates wonder from shock is that the former invites us to learn and grow.

© by CNN Awe may be inspired by music or nature. – Arctic-Images / Stone RF / Getty Images

All these little things can sometimes be difficult to distinguish when it comes to fear. Therefore, Keltner suggests carefully perceiving different stimuli, such as pictures, music, or natural events, and exploring how they feel.

"Calm down, are you bowing?" he said. "All of our research shows that when you engage in this perceptual experience, your sense of self recedes into the background of consciousness. Perhaps one of the determinants of appreciation is "you are small".

The art of miracles

"It's one thing to surprise people, another to highlight new ideas through beauty," says Keltner.

Artist Safa Klein believes that science and art coexist together. Although one may seem objective and the other very objective, they are "very similar processes". "These are ways people use to communicate information."

At her new WEBs gallery opening in New York on Wednesday. In "The Place of Everything," Klein uses materials such as molten bismuth (a rare element of gold), textured glass, stucco, and acrylic, inviting viewers to ask metaphysical questions about humanity. Consciousness and our place in the universe. He hopes viewers will leave his multimedia works with the feeling and understanding that "everything is inextricably linked, not only at the particle scale, but also at the social level."

© CNN Klein 2022 The artwork "WEB (Like Sunflower)" was created using mixed media on bismuth, plaster and glass. – Mention Klein Studio

He tries to convey his appreciation for his art to the audience. For this, it plays on both technical and scientific scales. Inspired by the microscopic perspective of astronomy and astrophysics on large planetary scales, as well as quantum mechanics, Klein strives to create spaces where viewers can find moments of wonder.

Her work involves the repetition of lines and curves, creating a sense of movement and engaging the viewer. Rays of intense, brilliant color shine like lasers from the reflective centers of the canvases, like a flash of inspiration. From far away, viewers can appreciate the vividness of naked stars, but up close, they can appreciate tiny, cell-like metal grains under a microscope.

He said, "Fear is seeing something else engulf you and finding comfort, beauty, and wonder in that reality." "It's about knowing that when you get to a certain point, you're not going to exist as you know it." Similar to Keltner's theory of the small self, Klein refers to this experience as a metaphor for "ego death."

© CNN artist Sefa Klein says, "Fear is seeing something else that worries you." – Mention Klein Studio

Klein finds comfort in this abstraction and ambiguity rather than existential dread. He says that when people realize the limits of their understanding.

Creativity, curiosity and civic engagement

Research shows that awe and wonder promote prosocial behavior by helping people feel part of something bigger than themselves. One study looked at the behavior of people after spending time in giant green plants. Participants who spent a minute looking at trees showed a greater tendency to help others. Other research suggests that consuming and creating art, whether it's music, visual art, or literature, is linked to emotional well-being and civic engagement.

It has many other advantages, Keltner says, "it's a great place to be." He and other scientists have discovered that fear is one of the positive emotions associated with reducing inflammation in the body, which is a major contributor to chronic disease. Fear increases our heart rate and blood pressure to calm our sympathetic nervous system, which kicks in when we feel anxious.

Interestingly, it may have mental benefits, especially in reducing stress and anxiety. People who ask questions find more security and meaning in their lives, says Keltner, which reduces their judgment. It is also associated with great creativity and curiosity.

© Provided by CNN Researchers with JMW Turner worked with the Google Arts and Culture Project to capture the emotions of various works of art, including Vesuvius. – Paul Mellon Collection / Yale Center for British Art

To take full advantage of these benefits, it's important to find wonder in everyday life, even if people don't visit galleries, concert halls, mountaintops, or lakeside sunsets. Viewing art online can make a difference, he added. "I think one of the promises of our digital life [ease of access] is a greater aesthetic appreciation and exposure to artists that you wouldn't normally find in a museum," he said.

In the year In 2021, Keltner and other researchers partnered with Google Arts & Culture to map the emotions expressed when viewing 1,500 different works of art online. Among them, about sixty works of art were appreciated by the participants. Other words he chooses to describe these works are "mystical", "breathing", "cosmic", "spiritual" and "intimate". Keltner suggests that one way to get in touch with your intuition is to study these parts and ask yourself what emotions they trigger within you.

Most importantly, he urges people to slow down and be aware of their surroundings. "Look for things that challenge your small and large size," he says.

He promised to thank him later.

Photo Caption: Posted by Tim Laub at Venetian Macau Resort & Casino, Macau, China on February 22, 2023.

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