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We Can Be Healthier And Make Ourselves Better Lovers By Feeling Awe, Study Finds

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.

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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 Says…

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.

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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.

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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.

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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/Dan Cooper via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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