Awe sends sense of well-being soaring

July 20th, 2012 - 6:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 20 (IANS) At some point, we’ve all had the feeling of being in a complete and overwhelming sense of awe. It seems to be a universal emotion, but it has been largely neglected by scientists — until now.

The sense of awe can come from the breathtaking scope of the Grand Canyon, the ethereal beauty of the Aurora Borealis, or the exhilarating view from the top of the Eiffel Tower or a view of Niagara Falls.

Psychological scientists Melanie Rudd and Jennifer Aaker of Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management devised a way to study this feeling of awe in the lab, the journal Psychological Science reports.

Across three different experiments, they found that jaw-dropping moments made participants feel like they had more time available and made them more patient, less materialistic, and more willing to volunteer time to help others, according to a Stanford and Minnesota statement.

Researchers found that the effects that awe has on decision-making and well-being can be explained by awe’s ability to actually change our perspective of time by slowing it down.

Experiences of awe help to brings us into the present moment which, in turn, adjusts our perception of time, influences our decisions, and makes life feel more satisfying than it would otherwise.

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