The banner image above and on our homepage was taken with my iPhone during a 2018 hike of Mt. Whitney with friends. The image of my hiking companion looking down several thousand feet into the John Muir Wilderness was one of the most awe inspiring views of nature I’ve experienced. Most of us have had those transformative awe moments in our lives. Whether it’s witnessing the many wonders of nature, or a captivating concert or play, or marveling at the birth of a child – the deep emotional effect leaves a lasting impression. Furthermore, research suggests that experiencing awe over time could have many health benefits, from lifting your mood, to lowering levels of inflammation, to making you feel more connected to others.
From an evolutionary perspective, awe’s ability to prompt curiosity while scanning environments with large vistas helped our ancestors navigate our world and seek safe places from predators. Experiencing awe can also elicit feelings of empathy, which may have led our ancestors to become more helpful and generous, increasing their tribes’ chances of survival (https://www.templeton.org/discoveries/the-science-of-awe).
Having a shared sense of awe seems to boost feelings of connectedness, even with those with whom we don’t see eye to eye (https://experiencelife.com/article/can-a-shared-sense-of-awe-help-us-overcome-political-polarization/)
Engaging in awe moments doesn’t have to be an epic experience or adventure. It could simply be walking in nature and being more attuned to your surroundings, or watching or reading an awe-evoking story, or coming across a work of art that is inspiring. Looking for daily experiences of awe can have a positive effect on your outlook on life and well-being (https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/eight_reasons_why_awe_makes_your_life_better)
Share Your Wellness Thoughts: What AWEsome moments have you experienced lately? Join our conversation below.