Written By Karl VonBerg.

Posted on August 2nd, 2022.

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 Have you ever stared in wonder at a sunset in all its brilliant colors? Or had your jaw drop at an incredible move by an athlete? Or heard a song that gives you goosebumps? YOU ARE BEING AWED!

 The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley studies this phenomenon and they discovered that being awed makes you healthier and makes you feel more connected to others.

 Have you ever stared in wonder at a sunset in all its brilliant colors?

sunset birds flying sky

Sunset  

 Or had your jaw drop at an incredible move by an athlete?

 Amazing athletic move

 Or heard a song that gives you goosebumps?

 YOU ARE BEING AWED!

 Some folks have studied this phenomenon and discovered that being awed makes you healthier and makes you feel more connected to others. 

 The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley has looked into this.  These are their conclusions:

  • Awe makes you more kind and generous
  • Awe can create a reduced sense of self-importance
  • Awe gives people the sense that they have more available time
  • Awe increases feelings of connectedness
  • Awe increases critical thinking and skepticism
  • Awe increases positive mood
  • Awe decreases materialism

One of the biggest things awe does is make you feel smaller.  Not in a bad way (like being down on yourself) but in terms of your self-importance relative to what you are in awe of.  Awe makes you realize there is something larger or more powerful that you feel connected to.  You have a humbler attitude about yourself.

Feeling small surrounded by a large view

Here is a flow chart of how awe can lead you into some positive outcomes:

Awe > feeling less self-importance > having more compassion for others > feeling more connected to others > having a more positive mood

How do you get awed?

  • By chance. You happen to be in the right place to see an incredible sunset or sunrise.  You see a bald eagle swoop down and catch a fish at a lake.  You are shopping at Christmas and happen to be at the mall when a flash mob sings Handel’s Alleluia chorus.

Eagle catching fish

 Bald Eagle catching fish

  • By being intentional. You go somewhere or do something that will produce awe.  Like a trip to the Grand Canyon, Glacier National Park or Yosemite.  Or you go to a concert to see someone you enjoy.  Or you go to a sporting event that shows incredible ability.

 Half Dome Yosemite National Park

  • By putting yourself in places where you are more likely to be awed.  Making a point to be in the right place at the right time to potentially be awed.  Spending more time in the natural world at sunrise or sunset.  Or, spending more time at sporting events or concerts, for example, can make you more likely to see awe-inspiring things.  
  • By being inquisitive. If you really check out certain things you will be awed at times. Just looking more closely at the natural world around you.  Have you ever checked out an individual snowflake? How about a feather under a microscope?

upclose lotus

Up close view of a lotus flower

Do you have another way you have been awed?  Share it on the MyWoodlot discussion page so others can benefit from it.

Want to discover amazing things?

Want to improve your health?

Want to improve your connection with others.

GO GET AWED!

This website shares more on awe and other things that might interest you: Greater Good Science Center

Glacier National Park


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