On Tuesday, August 7th, Dr. Margaret Laracy presented a webinar on the role that the experience of beauty can play in psychological healing and health. The webinar was co-sponsored by the Institute for the Psychological Sciences and the National Institute for Relationship Enhancement.
Dr. Laracy explained how psychological symptoms stemming from depression and anxiety can prevent a person from experiencing beauty. For example, for a person suffering from depression, it can be difficult to be attuned to the beauty around them, due to low energy, feelings of hopelessness, and lack of appetite. Similarly, a person suffering from anxiety can find it hard to appreciate beauty since much of their attention is devoted to assessing their environment for potential sources of anxiety-provoking stimuli.
Dr. Laracy also explained how restoring the experience of beauty to a person’s life can decrease the severity of a person’s symptoms. When a person who was previously unable to experience beauty begins to experience it again, it can be a sign of health. Some practices Dr. Laracy recommended for promoting experiences of beauty included: practicing mindfulness, freeing oneself from distractions (clutter, technology, sensory stimulation), and creating an environment of order. These practices can free a person to be more attuned to the experiences of beauty in their environment.
For more information on Dr. Laracy, please visit our Clinicians & Staff page.