One common happiness challenge is: How do you give yourself a boost when you’re feeling blue? Or when you’re past the point of feeling blue and are feeling deeply unhappy?
One refuge is to consider the beauty of nature.
Nature is impersonal, awe-inspiring, elegant, eternal. It’s geometrically perfect. It’s tiny and gigantic.
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You can travel far to be in a beautiful natural setting, or you can observe it in your backyard or, in my case, in the trees lining New York City sidewalks or in the clouds above skyscrapers.
A few nights ago, my eight-year-old daughter burst into my office. She was very excited to show me a video, Pendulum Waves, which shows extraordinary patterns created by the simple pendulum.
Watching the video, I was struck, for the millionth time, by the beauty of nature. I often remind myself of one of my favorite quotations, from Boethius, “Contemplate the extent and stability of the heavens, and then at last cease to admire worthless things.” Or I remind myself to “Consider the elephant.” Wonder why? Because of this passage from Eugene Delacroix’s fascinating journal.
Do you find that when you’re caught in the troubles of your own experience—whether those are grave problems or petty annoyances—that contemplating nature is helpful?
The extent and stability of the heavens! In a shell, in an elephant, in the clouds, in a rock formation, in the action of a pendulum.
Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier—and the recently released Happier at Home. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. For more doses of happiness and other happenings, follow Gretchen on Facebook and Twitter.
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*Image courtesy of @Doug88888.