Inner Space
Hello and Happy New Year,

Our surroundings have a profound impact on us. Since we're visual creatures (at least those of us who are sighted), we are greatly influenced by our environment, whether we're talking about our homes, offices, neighborhoods or shopping centers.

They spaces we live in or visit can influence our mood, can provide inspiration and support, or the reverse can be true. Some places may bring a heavy atmosphere that weighs down on us, making us unable to concentrate, draining our life force. Think of a grim cubicle office that's narrow, closed off and dreary. The mere thought of spending 8 hours a day in such a place can make some people depressed. Whether we're conscious or not, beauty plays a significant role in our quality of life.

These aren't unsupported claims about the mysterious "energies" of the objects and spaces around us. Studies concluded that people who live in cities where the buildings are works of art in themselves, where attention to detail and elements of style are abundant, reported having a higher well-being and a more positive outlook on life. The aesthetic character of a location has a direct impact on the residents' life satisfaction and sense of community. Researchers found that the beauty of a neighborhood has the same importance for life quality as does social support and social belonging.

What conclusion can we draw from this? For me, it's that beauty isn't simply a whim, a superficial desire or a frivolous concern. Enjoying aesthetically pleasing places and bringing beautiful objects into our space is a necessary act for boosting our quality of life.

In a culture obsessed with optimization and efficiency, beauty seems superfluous. Unless it helps your profit margins, of course. We're more concerned with the function of things, rather than their aesthetic feeling, and we've been told that this is a sign of maturity. This utilitarian bend to our reasoning saps our sense of wonder, depletes our ability to appreciate the finger things and even closes us off from the world.

With all that said, here are some practical tips on how to surround yourself with beauty:
  • pay attention to details: objects that are more unique, quirky, embellished, unexpected
  • make it personal: be intentional with the objects you surround yourself with, from your planner and pen to the frame of your favorite picture or your curtains, choose something that brings joy
  • add life: a bouquet of flowers can elevate any space
  • add delight: not everything needs to be functional (as some minimalists may have you believe), so feel free to add to your home or office (if possible) any d├ęcor pieces that you feel drawn to, that may not necessarily serve a function
  • spend time in nature: the inexhaustible beauty of nature will always be there to elicit wonder, from the fragile snowflake to the imposing mountain

Timeless Content

Why Beauty Is Important
Eric Carlson | 3 minute read
This is a short and sweet read on beauty, exploring the difference between beauty and vanity and the role of marrying beauty and function, among others.

Tool for Thought

Recommend me a book
Discover books to read


Meet your virtual library. This website can help you discover your next read. You can either choose to read the first page of a book without knowing the title or author, and then decide whether you want to reveal that information; or you can browse books by their cover for a more traditional approach to book-finding. I personally prefer the first option, because it removes any bias and lets you focus on the content only. Play around with it and see what you discover.

Picture of the Week

Beauty
Some inspiration for how you could introduce more beauty into your space.

Quote I'm reflecting on

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Questions for you to ponder

What can you do today to bring more beauty into your life? Or can you find a sense of appreciation for the one that's already present?
Thank you for reading.

Until next time,
Diana
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