We Can Be Healthier And Make Ourselves Better Lovers By Feeling Awe, Study Finds
Those who dare to be in awe (usually against society’s advice) tend to find happiness, enjoyment, exhilaration, love and beauty more often than most.
Allowing themselves to feel instead of judging, dreading or scrutinizing, these curious individuals often enjoy excellent health and better relationships in addition to their open heart.
If we already know that positive thoughts lead to a positive life, doesn’t it make sense that the feeling of awe would produce emotion positive enough to alter one’s perception of the world almost entirely? This easily translates into relationships – think of a time your partner did something to make you admire them! You probably felt lucky to be with them which reignited your love for each other. What if you could feel that way again? What would your relationship be like? Powerful feelings influence both sides of the relationship; when in awe of your partner, you can’t get enough of them!
Can you imagine what it would be like to see beauty everywhere you go, appreciating the world around you? How happy would you be every day? Right now, there may have been merely several times in life you were truly in awe but the memory still remains and if you aren’t used to this feeling, you were probably taught to beware of it in order to avoid disappointment. However, allowing very few things in life to move you doesn’t exactly translate into frequent happiness.
By now, you are realizing why being in awe produces positive emotion. Wrapped in the feeling of awe, one feels like an entirely new person – happier, healthier and even more loving. The heart is suddenly open. Feeling awe and enjoying excellent health are interconnected, as proven by research.
Science has found a correlation between the feeling of being in awe leading to better health and vice versa. A study completed at the University of Toronto to examine the effect of positive emotion on health measured the levels of the interleukin-6 molecule (IL-6) in its participants. Known for causing inflammation while showing low levels when positive emotion is involved, participants filled out questionnaires describing the frequency of specific emotions felt within one month to prove that awe had predicted the exact levels of IL-6 shown in the results.
Good health and awe are based on positive emotion which influences one’s entire being in immensely rewarding ways. The feeling of awe is associated with an outgoing character which is a trait of positive individuals. Those with negative mindsets tend to be less sociable, probably agreeing with the general view of society that awe is reserved only for the most exceptional of circumstances. However, if allowing yourself to be in awe of the beauty you see every day makes you even healthier and happier (not to mention that good health results in great looks), why should you refrain from being in awe?
Science Also Says…
The feeling of awe also manifests in a low level of cytokines – proteins crucial to the immune system because of their reaction to illness. Research done at UC Berkeley, in which the participants reported on the range of positive emotions felt in a single day, showed that those who’d experienced being in awe measured the lowest levels of cytokines.
Once again, it was assumed that awe influenced the low level of cytokines just as much as good health had an impact on positive emotions. Awe seems to be one of the most powerful positive emotions, quickly improving one’s health in various ways.
When in Awe of the World Around You…
When in awe, one feels helpful, their open heart suddenly attuned to the needs of others. Similarly, feeling awe helps cure depression, redirecting attention from one’s complex thoughts to their growing curiosity about the wonders of the world.
Dr. Paul Piff of UC Irvine claims that the power of redirecting focus is one of the strongest benefits feeling awe can bring, stating it “attunes us to things bigger than ourselves.” In addition, he suggested that reliving a feeling of awe from the past can add to one’s present capacity for kindness and compassion. Dacher Keltner of UC Berkeley measured the academic improvement of inner city high school students who were taken on a rafting trip; in addition to achieving improvements, the students developed increased curiosity about the world.
Another experiment of Dr. Piff’s, in which a group of students gazed up at the eucalyptus trees while another faced a building, demonstrated that the first group displayed a larger capacity for generosity and humbleness in the next phase of the experiment.
Web developer Polett Villalta stated her experiences of deep scuba diving, including an instance of touching the bottom of the ocean and witnessing a striking visual of colorful coral and darting fish, continuously allows her to improve her life. She has been paralyzed from the chest down ever since an accident during childhood. Describing her first deep scuba diving experience, she said: “It’s like nothing else matters.”
Elizabeth Bernstein of the The Wall Street Journal wrote: “I have been diving with Ms. Villalta, and to see her transcend her physical limitations and submerge underwater is awe-inspiring.”
And What About Love?
Can you imagine what happens when one feels in awe of their romantic partner?
Being in awe of another humbles even the most confident of individuals. Since being in awe increases one’s sense of generosity, considering your partner worthy of awe could cause you to be more appreciative and adoring of them, wanting to do your best in the relationship. If being in awe increases the feeling of trust, it can direct your attention to your partner instead of your own needs in a relationship. In addition, increased feelings of generosity and appreciation in a relationship understandably serve as motivators for being a giving lover.
In other words, feeling awe can even help increase the overall feeling of love for one’s partner.
Featured photo credit: Man Celebrating Freedom In nature With Glacier/...via stokpic.com
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