I remember the first time I saw the Rocky Mountains. I was driving west through the plains states to Colorado with a little Instamatic camera. I look now at the pics and laugh–photos from hundreds of miles away right up to the foothills, showing taller and taller peaks. The photos do NOT do justice to the awe I felt at first witnessing the grandeur of those mountains. My colleague, Ingrid Peschke, writing for the January 12, 2016 edition of the MetroWest Daily News, shares some interesting research on “awe” and its healing power. Here’s Ingrid:
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….