The Mental Benefits of Seeking Awe
Encountering things much larger than ourselves can inspire awe, wonder, wonder and humility. There are many benefits to connecting with things far greater than the individual self. For example, being in a context of awe (listening to great music) leads to a feeling of insignificance.
In his recently published book, the psychologist Dacher Keltner shows the beneficial effects of reverence on our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Research shows that experiencing awe can relieve stress, calm our inner critic, and inspire us to behave more altruistically toward those around us.
The experience of awe is the feeling of being in the presence of something great that transcends our current understanding of the world. It is the feeling of being overwhelmed by something greater than self. For example, gazing at stars in the night sky reminds us of the universe beyond our experience. The experience is indescribable and indescribable.
Awe comes in many forms, such as great music, visual design, and people’s courage, kindness, or strength in overcoming adversity. Our experiences of awe are accompanied by tears, chills and goosebumps. For example, we move to rip at the kind acts of others. And it feels good in itself. The expression of awe includes widening the eyes and smiling, and raising the head upwards.
The sense of awe affects the way we see ourselves. The experience of awe can have a profound impact on our mental health by allowing us to put our fears into perspective. When we are in the presence of something vast and indescribable, we feel insignificant, as do our worries. The experience of awe lifts us out of the ordinary practical thoughts that dominate our daily lives. And it allows us to have inner peace.
For example, in areas where the population has more access to beautiful green spaces, people report greater happiness and goodwill toward others. One study showed that older adults who took 15-minute nature walks weekly for eight weeks reported increased positive emotions and less stress in their daily lives.
Reverent people are more likely to show generosity, become less individualistic, and emphasize a greater sense of connectedness to others and the world. In moments of awe, we shift from feeling that we alone are responsible for our own destiny to a feeling of being part of a community. When we focus less on ourselves (our own goals and needs), we have more mental capacity to perceive others and what they may be experiencing.
In total, Awe arises in encounters with the wonders of life and leads to a disappearance of the self. When we marvel at something truly incredible, we perceive ourselves as smaller and less important in relation to the rest of the world. Consequently, creating awe can trigger a major mental shift, making it a potentially essential tool in improving our health and well-being.
There are many ways for us to cultivate the experience of awe in our daily lives, whether through nature, music, art, sports or witnessing the kindness of others. Awe-inspiring moments can be experienced in all sorts of places. This ability to step outside of yourself is a valuable skill.