Get some AWE in to your life!

Get some AWE in to your life!

via by Marcel Schwantes

Ever hiked down the Grand Canyon? Scaled up Yosemite’s Half Dome? Stood at the top of Christ the Reedemer and looked down at Rio de Janeiro’s city landscape?

These things (along with watching the birth of my son, seeing Kirk Gibson blast that miraculous game-winning home run off Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series, and hearing U2’s “Unforgettable Fire” album for the first time) left me in awe–feelings that I can still access in my memory and relive to this day.

These personal illustrations serve a bigger purpose. As it turns out, experiencing the positive emotions that come with feelings of awe is also very good for your health.

Let me unpack this for you.

The Research on Awe Will Make You Want More of It

Psychologists describe awe as the experience of encountering something so vast–in size, skill, beauty, intensity, etc.–that our brains struggle to make sense of it. It’s those feelings we get when we’re touched by the beauty of nature, art, music or having a spiritual breakthrough that is so indescribable, it leaves us, well…in awe.

This is the type of feeling to get addicted to with no guilt or negative consequences. Allow me to geek out on the science for one short paragraph.

Researchers have linked awe with “lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that signal the immune system to work harder.” OK, I’ll dumb it down a bit.

What science is basically saying is that we need to experience more awe in life because it boosts happiness and eliminates things like depression and other autoimmune diseases.

Here’s what UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner, Ph.D, co-author of an awe study, had to say in a Greater Good blog:

That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests that the things we do to experience these emotions–a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art–has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy.

One study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that inducing awe increased ethical decision-making, generosity, and prosocial values. Get this: Just by standing in a grove of towering trees “enhanced prosocial helping behavior and decreased entitlement” among participants. In other words, it made people much nicer!

Another study published in Psychological Science found that awe leads to feeling like you have more time available. It brings you into the present moment, makes you less impatient, and helps you to influence your decisions. All in all, it makes life feel more abundant and satisfying.

Have I convinced you to experience more awe in life? How about more awe at work?

…keep reading the full & original article HERE