Exploring the Meaning of Awe

When was the last time something left you in complete awe? Experiencing awe is a truly wonderful thing - it can inspire us, motivate us, and even ignite a light within us. Awe can even change the way we view the world. It’s safe to say that experiencing awe is something we want to hold onto and appreciate when it happens. This feeling has struck curiosity in the fields of psychology, science, and medicine. 

This feeling provokes us to realize how small we really are in the big scheme of things, and not in a bad way. It also makes us feel more connected to others and the world. Recent studies show that there are many benefits of seeking out experiencing awe. 

Are you ready to live a more awesome life? Continue reading as we explore the meaning of awe and how to seek it out.

The Meaning of Awe
You may be wondering exactly what awe is. The truth is, it’s a complex emotion that can be difficult to explain. We think this only adds to the magical experience of awe. In simple terms, awe is an emotional response of being in the presence of, or witnessing, something that’s much greater or larger than the self. This strong emotion has the ability to change the way we think about ourselves and the world. It’s larger than life. 

Awe can be brought on by a vast variety of stimuli such as the birth of a baby, witnessing a giant mountain, or being on a boat in the middle of the ocean. The origins of awe date way back into history, typically being recounted during religious or spiritual experiences. Awe is tied to perceived vastness. Vastness refers to the feeling of perceiving something to be much larger than the self. When we perceive vastness, our brains adjust to create accommodations to help us better understand the experience. 

Benefits of Awe
Positive psychology has recently taken interest into awe as a concept.
Their interested in understanding the benefits of awe and how to seek out its experience. Of the studies conducted thus far, they’ve found that experiencing awe comes with many health benefits, both physical and mental. 
  • The mental and physical health benefits of experiencing awe include:
  • Lowered levels of stress
  • Increased feelings of well-being and life satisfaction
  • Increased willingness to exhibit generosity and helpfulness
  • Increased creativity
  • Increased compassion 
  • Increased decision-making abilities
  • Increased feelings of connectedness 
  • Decreased inflammation 
As we can see, there are many benefits to seeking out experiences of awe. It can boost our moods and well-being, improve our relationships, and contribute positively to our physical health. Are you feeling inspired to live a more awesome life? Below, we’ll discuss ways to seek out awe. 

Seeking out Awe
We hope you’re as excited as we are to commit to seeking out more awe. Don’t worry, you don’t need to travel the world or witness a history changing moment to experience awe. There are many ways you can seek it out in your day to day life. As mentioned above, awe is a feeling. That feeling comes from perceiving something as larger than yourself. 
We could all benefit from a little perspective change from time to time, right? Altering your perspective on the world around you can make a huge difference. Try adopting the concept of mindfulness into your everyday life and see how much more awesome your life becomes. Mindfulness is the concept of living in the present moment. It seems incredibly simple, but it takes practice to get used to. This means consciously focusing on the present - how you feel, your surroundings, your senses, and those around you. Mindfulness is a perspective change to help you better recognize the awe in everyday life. If you’re wondering what kind of experiences to seek out for awe, we have you covered. 

When you’re ready to seek out awe, try out these activities:
  • Spend time in nature. Science shows time and time again that spending time in nature is good for our physical, mental, and spiritual health. It also promotes a feeling of connectedness to the world. Try going for a walk in your neighborhood, a nearby park, or take a day trip to a cool hiking spot. Live in the moment and take it all in. If you can’t access the outdoors, try watching nature videos on the internet. 
  • Step out of your comfort zone. Stepping out of your comfort zone is sure to produce feelings of curiosity and wonder, which are elements of awe. This challenges us to step outside of our perception of ourselves. Doing something out of the ordinary can easily become an awe-fulfilling experience. 
  • Dig into the arts. Have you ever seen a painting so beautiful it made you emotional? Or maybe you have one special song that promotes strong emotions. Whatever type of art you prefer to consume, try seeking out art that will evoke a lot of emotion. Be mindful while you’re consuming and allow yourself to give in to the awe.