When we are in the presence of something vast and feel awestruck, we, in turn, become humbled. This more modest version of self leads the individual to an increased sense of social belonging. An increased connectedness to others enables us to act in more collaborative ways toward the social collective. With enhanced generosity, kindness, and humility, we can form more vital groups and communities. From an evolutionary perspective, this would improve our odds for survival as a species and explain why Awe became part of our emotional inventory.
When researcher Jennifer Stellar recently looked at the relationship between the cytokine system and various positive emotions, she found that only Awe reduced levels of cytokines to a significant degree. It would seem that regular doses of Awe can do wonders for our physical and emotional health.
“Fleeting and rare, experiences of awe can change the course of a life in profound and permanent ways” – Jonathan Haidt
Perhaps we should all take the time to truly notice the happenings around us which we do not fully understand. If the daily presence of wonder encourages us to be happier, less egotistical versions of ourselves – Let us all be in Awe of this powerful and transformational emotion.