Beauty: why it’s important for your health
Although I didn’t know it at the time, walking through Switzerland extended my life. I’m thinking they should have charged more for the tour.
There’s good reason for beauty — beauty in nature; in art; in the act of creating something. And believe me, the Swiss know how to do beauty. In their mountains. Their mountain lakes. Their ancient buildings.
And especially in their profuse exhibition of flowers. Even in late September, floral arrangements on cobblestone streets.
Color on doorsteps.
Lacey blooms in window boxes …
… and in ancient castles.
Even greenery in teapots.
Did you know beauty is important to our health, and not just cancer health?
Researchers have linked positive emotions –– especially the awe we feel when touched by the beauty of nature, art and spirituality –– with lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that signal the immune system to work harder.
This from Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, in an article entitled “Add nature, art and religion to life’s best anti-inflammatories“:
That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests that the things we do to experience these emotions – a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art – has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy.
On the morning before leaving Switzerland, I browsed through a farmers’ market near the Lake of Lucerne. One of the booths featured gourds and pinecones in hand-crafted twig baskets. Not only do the Swiss know how to do floral arrangements; they obviously know how to do veggie arrangements.
So my question is this, does the beauty of this arrangement and the fact that it’s veggie-based make it twice as healthful? I’m thinking yes.
How about you? When was the last time you extended your life by simply coming into contact with beauty in nature, art or spirituality?
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