A glorious sunset is the epitome of fleeting beauty. For some minutes, the sky is a spectacle of color, and then it’s over. The psychological effects of admiring the sunset may persist long following the color has faded.
Studies show that appreciating natural beauty may boost well-being, increase generosity and enhance life satisfaction. The key is to actively engage with the experience. To reap the rewards of that sunset, you need to stop whatever else you’re doing and really notice and appreciate the show in the sky.
3 Benefits of Sunset Gazing and sunset meaning
Allowing yourself to be captivated with a sunset may have lots of psychological benefits.
Emotional well-being. Generally, people who feel linked with nature report being happier and having more positive thoughts than those who don’t share this connection. Yet it’s clear that some individuals get more joy from one hour in the park than others.
Researchers found that connectedness with nature only predicted well-being in people who were attuned to the beauty of nature. Need to tune up your awareness of natural beauty? It’s hard to beat simply sitting outside and bathing in a sensational sunset.
Concern for others. Another study by Zhang found that the positive emotions aroused by natural beauty led to increased prosociality – feelings and behaviors seen as a a concern for others. In one experiment, volunteers first looked at pictures of nature scenes and then played a casino game, which allowed them to be generous or stingy about giving away points to other players. The nature images had been pre-rated to regulate how beautiful people thought they were. Volunteers who viewed beautiful nature images gave away more points, compared to those who viewed less attractive pictures. In short, it wasn’t just looking at nature that put people in a generous mood. It had been perceiving the beauty of nature – and a sunset is a prime example of that.
Satisfaction with life. Beauty enriches life, which makes it more rewarding. One study found that greater engagement with beauty was associated with higher amounts of life satisfaction, gratitude, and a spiritual outlook. The association was strongest for engagement with natural splendor, when compared with artistic beauty (such as a painting, symphony or poem) or moral beauty (such as an act of charity, loyalty or kindness).
One theory is that appreciation for the wonder of nature is so powerful because it’s instinctual rather than learned. There’s an all-natural tendency to stop and stare at a breathtaking sunset. When you do so, you’re likely to be caught up in the moment, as well as your mind gets an escape from fretting within the last or worrying about the future. Afterward, you sense refreshed, and life just seems just a little better.