Ingrid Peschke’s January 12th article The Health-Giving Power of awe in the MetroWest Daily News reports that a growing number of psychologists are finding health benefits associated with the emotion of “awe”. Many sights in Kansas and Nebraska have resulted in that feeling of awe, and perhaps gratitude for the experience, but “health-giving” is a new consideration that certainly seems worthy of investigating. You will find the first few paragraphs of Peschke’s article below and are invited to click on the link following to read it in full.
The first full moon on Christmas Eve in nearly four decades graced the skies this past December. That night, my family and I attended a candlelight church service where we listened to an incredibly talented violinist and cellist play an arrangement of ‘Silent Night’ that could only be described as holy. It was an awe-filled moment when we left the church just before midnight, the moon lighting our path.
Beholding the majesty of our universe or feeling the quiet stillness that comes from admiring a work of art or a musical composition inspires awe. Yet this is an emotion that has until recently gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to being recognized for its impact on mental and physical well-being.
Instead, psychologists have spent most of their time studying negative emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness, according to researcher and psychologist Jennifer Stellar. The University of Toronto postdoctoral fellow says that focusing so much on the negative fails to capture the positive emotions and the beauty of human nature.
In her recent TedMed talk she said that in fact new research shows people experience compassion, joy, love, and awe three times as much as negative emotions. Today, she is part of a growing group of research psychologists who are beginning to study these positive emotions and their impact on health.