Four Ways That Fleeting Experiences of Awe Can Change Your Life

Awe is awesome!

The evidence is overwhelming!

When we face the incredible and attempt to assimilate its magnificence , what we thought we knew becomes challenged and our understanding expanded, when we connect with a universe far greater and more incredible than we could ever imagine – we have been in awe…

Here are four ways in which our lives are changed, as we encounter awe:

ONE: Awe calms our body

Awe has been shown to lower stress levels and protect our body from inflammation.

Berkely psychologist, Dacher Kelner suggested in a press release that awe, wonder and beauty lead to healthier levels of cytokines and the things we might do to experience awe-–  walking in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art -– directly influence our health and life expectancy. 

When compared with other positive emotions, awe was found to be very different in its effect. “Most positive emotions are about getting something that we want, in other words, they are very competitive and stimulating both physiologically and behaviourally,” explains Shiota. They activate the fight and flight response which promotes stress and speeds up our heart rate. “But awe is completely the opposite, in that it actually reduces our heart rate in response to a stressful situation, by activating the parasympathetic nervous system known for its calming and soothing effects,” she says. During moments of awe we become still and receptive.

TWO: Awe transforms of our mind

Awe disables the filters that are set by our expectations and transforms our perceptions of the world.

It seems that awe’s function may lie in how it makes us think. Shiota,  states, “Awe involves a sense of uncertainty that we are compelled to try to resolve…we deal with that uncertainty through careful, detail-oriented processing of information from the environment.” Moments of awe make it possible to transform our perceptions by expanding awareness in the moment.

Learn more: Why Awe and Amazement could be the key to lasting happiness.

THREE: Awe gives us a spacious sense of time

Most of us would have heard it said, “In that moment, time stood still”. Researchers found that people exposed to moments of awe, felt that they had more time to achieve what they wanted to. The following video explains this phenomenon:

Watch now: Melanie Rudd: How Awe Expands Our Perception of Time

FOUR: Awe connects us to the everyday miracles of nature

‘If you think of feelings you have when you are awed by something – for example, knowing that elements in your body trace to exploded stars – I call that a spiritual reaction, speaking of awe and majesty, where words fail you.’ – Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The following video gives us a glimpse of the wonderful and awe-inspiring natural world that in moments of awe, we realise we are part of.  Watch now: Hidden miracles of the natural world. TED Talk by Louie Schwartzberg

Treat yourself to moments of awe.

They are free and can do you the world of good!

Why wouldn’t you!

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