Research has shown that exposure to arts for just two hours a week can make us happier.  Whether it is creating art or looking at art, being with art makes us happy.  
When we are with paintings, we tend to lose our “self”.  When we look at paintings, our mind stops thinking about the many things that are occupying our lives, analyzing what happened yesterday and anticipating what will happen tomorrow.  The busy mind takes a break when we look at paintings. 
Looking at a painting requires our attention and efforts to make sense of what we are seeing.  No matter how artistically “good” or “bad” a painting is, our mind has to cut out the noise of the background thoughts and focus itself to see the painting and interpret it.  We have to utilize our underused imagination to understand what the painting is.  
Even if the painting is as realistic as a photograph, our mind will be wondering how the painting is created and what is happening in this scene in the painting.  Even if the painting is a a young child’s scribbles, our mind will be figuring out what the painting is about and why it is drawn in this manner.  

The mind has “no choice” but to concentrate itself on the painting, which leads us to being immersed in the painting.  This absorbing and engaging experience makes us happy.  
How to appreciate paintings? Look at paintings and be happy!

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