Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence - Week 22By Jeff Bryan
It’s really not that big a place. It gives you this renewed appreciation for Earth as a place that takes care of us, and also for all of those other living creatures that we share it with.
For an in-depth overview of each weekly slide presentation, please skip below to your specific grade level.
To see the 1-page Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence Character Card and share it with your students’ families, click here.
For the P2 Reflection Journals, used by all elementary students at the end of the week, click here.
Starting Monday, Partner Schools nationwide will begin learning about appreciation of beauty & excellence. This is the ability to identify and enjoy that which is admirable in the world. There are three types of goodness in which positive psychology focuses: physical beauty (e.g. a sunset, song, or building); an exceptional skill or talent; and moral goodness (e.g. a character strength). Appreciation of beauty can generate awe; appreciation of a skill can generate admiration; and appreciation of moral goodness can generate moral elevation. All of these feelings (awe, admiration, and moral elevation) help us forget ourselves and find increased joy and meaning in the world.
This week’s character strength example is Nicole Stott. She is a former astronaut and current artist. To learn more about the “Artistic Astronaut” you can go to her website. And, to understand the “overview effect” that astronauts describe — and their intense feeling of awe and concurrent cognitive shift in awareness — check out this article and the below video.
Appreciating excellence and beauty helps an individual experience positive emotions and connect with the world around him/her. It’s an outward facing strength, meaning the individual is focused on the world outside his/her head. And, not only is the individual outwardly focused, but often deeply absorbed in a sense of awe or admiration, freeing him/her to forget anxieties and troubles. And it is associated with other strengths, such as gratitude, curiosity, love of learning, and connection/purpose.
On a group level, those who appreciate excellence and beauty make our lives more enjoyable. First, it means that they’re not looking to criticize the world or its people, but instead take pleasure from their excellence. Second, it is the writers, painters, musicians, and filmmakers who help us better appreciate the world around us. It’s due to their admiration for the way the sun hits off a wave or the quiet perseverance of a cross-country runner, that we are able to see the world with fresh eyes.
And, as a reminder, you can find all of our weekly slide presentations on our website’s Resources page. Enjoy the slides — and please be sure to let us know how it’s going by posting to Twitter and using the #PositivityInAction hashtag!