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The Awesome Truth About Awe

Did you know that awe can alter our perception of time? It makes us feel like we have more time, which for those of us who often feel short on time (πŸ™‹), is a welcome discovery! Scientific research has uncovered quite a bit about this positive feeling that’s often overshadowed by the more popular joy, happiness, and love. So let’s give this gem of an emotion a chance to shine!

We experience awe when in the presence of something much larger than ourselves. It’s a feeling that can come from many sources, including natural wonders like the vast ocean or Grand Canyon. It can also come from witnessing human talent, such as in sports or the arts, or in the beautiful details of old churches and temples.

β€œThe moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself

Henry Miller

As Miller points out, awe can also be inspired by something small in scale, but conceptually vast. His example is a blade of grass, which when you tune into it, or anything in nature for that matter, it sparks a true sense of wonder and awe.

Nature is breathtaking!!!

A totally different example of something small but mind-blowing is our cell phones. How is it possible??! Spend a moment, in awe… think of all of the people and scientific discoveries that came before this incredible technology we hold in our hands! (I’m still over here, trying to make sense of fax machines!! πŸ–¨ πŸ€”)

While new technology is often intended to make life easier and relieve stress, we all know how it plays out in reality. There are more demands on our time, and patience is a virtue that’s needed now more than ever. Well, here comes awe to the rescue! Some interesting findings point to awe as an antidote to our busy lives. In one study, people who experienced awe:

  • perceived they had more time available
  • felt increased patience
  • were motivated to be in service of others
  • reported greater life satisfaction

Sign me up! πŸ‘ Research has also illuminated how our sense of self is altered when we immerse ourselves in awe. We feel smaller, which shifts our perspective and leads to both greater humility and decreased narcissism. In this interesting study, participants who spent one minute gazing up at towering eucalyptus trees reported less self-centeredness than the control group. And just like the other studies concluded, they were more inclined to help others.

Talk about perspective!

Wherever you’re able to tap into awe, whether at the top of a mountain, or at home contemplating the miracle of human existence, some additional benefits you might find include:

What are some tangible ways to increase our awe intake? Here are a handful of ideas to get the brainstorming started:

How might you incorporate more awe into your days? I’d love to hear some of your ideas! I hope you’ll join me in making a conscious effort to invite more awesomeness into our lives. Not only will we enjoy the benefits, but in true Spread Happy spirit, the generosity that awe inspires will surely benefit others as well!


2 Comments

  1. Tracy I am once again in awe (not to abuse the word but it’s so fitting) of your ability/willingness to stop and be present. Not an easy task in this world!

    I love your suggestions. Nature and art are definitely my quickest routes to awe.

    It’s an amazing word when you stop and look at it.

    Thank you Tracy!

    • Tracy D. Tracy D.

      Thanks so much, Lisa! I truly appreciate your kind words and insight, and hearing what most easily inspires awe for you. Now I’m inspired to check out some art at one of our local museums!! 🌈

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