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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 September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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