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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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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