When was the last time you experienced something that left you with a profound sense of awe? You know, that feeling of being overwhelmed in such a good way because something is so breath taking or wonderful. Hopefully the answer to this question is very recently, because new research indicates that having more and regular awe-inspiring experiences is actually very good for your physical and mental health.
Researchers Melanie Rudd of Stanford University, Kathleen D. Vohs at the University of Minnesota, and Jennifer Aaker of Stanford University, conducted a series of experiments into how people experience awe and found numerous benefits. Chief among them, a greater feeling of satisfaction with life as compared to those who had not felt awe. There was also a greater desire to take time to help others and a general feeling that there is time to do things instead of the typical “there is no time” stress so many experience these days.
Previous studies have reached related conclusions, for example – lower blood pressure, less heart conditions, and other physical benefits have also been linked to more frequent awe experiences.
But don’t think this means we all have to go to Machu Picchu or the Grand Canyon in order to improve our health (though it would be nice). The team says that according to their research, “a trip down memory lane, brief story, or even a 60-second commercial” can also elicit feelings of awe. So if you have the right dinner parties or simply a good conversation partner, you can still get the awe you need to live better.
Source: The Age
Photo: Markusnl / flickr