Science Says Beauty Is A Feeling, Not A Look, So Here's How You Can Capture It

by Julia Guerra

Somewhere between jean sizes and makeup palettes, the definition of what it means to be beautiful seems to have been overtaken by physical and materialistic standards, and it's high time someone stepped up to set the record straight. Beauty might be in the eyes of the beholder, but it’s not entirely about aesthetics. In fact, new research suggests beauty is a feeling, rather than a way to describe a person's physical appearance. See, beauty starts from the inside and works its way out, meaning the more beauty you internalize, the more you beautiful you’ll feel in your skin, your clothes, and the more confidence will radiate from a simple flash of your smile. There’s no one lipstick shade or little black dress you can throw on that'll automatically make you feel beauty. It's more than that, and according to researchers from New York University, beauty is actually a lot simpler than many people make it out to be.

Personally, I feel my absolute best and most beautiful — both mentally and physically — on days when every creative juice inside my body is flowing. It typically starts with a workout that pushes my body to its limits, followed by a nice warm shower and a good book. Then later, when I set my pen to paper and the ideas pour onto the pages, forming a string of words that sound as good as they feel, to me, that’s beauty. Those are the kinds of days when I look in the mirror, and the person reflecting back at me feels beautiful, too. If that’s the case, then you might be wondering why I don’t make it a point to have these moments each and every day. TBH, I’m beginning to wonder the very same thing.

As for the new research that argues beauty is a feeling rather than a way to look, the report has been published in the scientific journal Current Biology. For the study, researchers analyzed the teachings and musings of several different renowned philosophers, from Plato to Oscar Wilde, as well as more recent neuroscience findings that have found that beauty is, in fact, a feeling before anything else. Their analysis showed that beauty is a feeling of pleasure, and when the feeling of beauty intensifies, so does the feeling of pleasure, ScienceDaily reports. And Ani Ferlise, a Reiki master and founder of the experiential kit series Kozmic Ryder (who was not involved in this research), couldn't agree more.

“Beauty is both an emotion and something tangible” Ferlise tells Elite Daily, further explaining that there is both “beauty in the reaction to the moment and the moment itself.” For instance, let's say you turn the radio on while you're getting dressed in the morning, and a brand new song comes through your speakers. The rhythm is smooth — a combination of jazz and hip hop — and the second you hear the whine of the violins, you feel moved. You rock your hips from side to side, your ears perk up, listening intently to each lyric. And when it ends, you look in the mirror to eye your ensemble, feeling even better than you did not even three minutes ago. And because there’s this belief that beauty starts from the soul and overcomes your mind, as well as your body, it is then both tangible and intangible, says Ferlise, “making it a whole, perfect experience.”

Beauty is something that can be felt all day, every day, but it's up to you to make that connection. Here are a few ways to feel beauty wherever you are.

Take Time Out Of Your Day To Meditate

Wherever you are in this very moment, close your eyes and breathe. Take deep breaths from your diaphragm, and exhale out of your nose. Try your very best to tune out the noise around you — whether that's the buzz of your chatty co-workers or the rickety tracks of the subway underneath your seat — and just focus on how you're feeling. Acknowledge it, honor it, and move on with your day with gratitude.

Now, if you don't feel zen AF and at peace after that sequence, I'm really not sure what's going to do it for you. According to Robert Glatter, M.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health, practicing meditation, even if it's only for a few minutes on your lunch break, can be "an ideal way to engage ourselves daily in building emotional stability and an inner sense of pleasure." In other words, the more you make it a point to check in with yourself emotionally, the more skilled you'll become in identifying the things that make you feel your happiest, and honing in on these activities and behaviors that help you harness that sense of internal beauty.

Keep Your Mind And Hands Busy With Something Creative

I know myself, and the more time I have to spend on creative projects like writing in my journal, knitting, or even doodling on a napkin, the better I feel. And according to Glatter, these types of activities are some of the most effective ways to spark feelings of beauty in your own soul.

"Painting, creative writing, drawing, and pottery can spark creativity, self-confidence, and may also help produce a sustainable sense of well-being and inner beauty," he tells Elite Daily. Even if you don't exactly consider yourself the artistic type, reading poetry, maybe even trying to come up with a verse yourself just for fun, he says, can also "lead to positive imagery, which may allow us to feel good about ourselves and then project this to others around us."

Live Life Authentically — aka Do You, Boo

As the wise Dr. Seuss once said, "Today you are you, and that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you." You've been encouraged to "do you" since grade school, boo — but I totally understand that life happens, and sometimes you feel like you have to fit a certain mold. Well, Ferlise is here to tell you that that's completely untrue, and that the more authentically you live your life, the more beautiful every day will be.

Authenticity starts with self-awareness, she says, and that means not being afraid to be exactly who you are to everyone around you — be it your boss, your SO, or BFF. "What you perceive as 'good' or a 'strength' and what you perceive as 'bad' or a 'weakness' — marry them all together to see your unique bad*ss power. There’s no denying the fierce, unapologetic beauty in presence and power. Own yourself. Rock yourself."

Mic drop.