In case you ever needed an excuse to go to that concert, play or art installation – you’ve now got it! Dr. Dacher Keltner, the co-founder and director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center explains that the power of awe has long-lasting and far-reaching consequences. Whether music, drama, nature, religion or art gives you that feeling of awe – the awe itself can be transformative.
How does awe help us? Research has shown that having a sense of awe can improve positive social behavior because it makes people feel that they are part of something larger than themselves. Awe can help us to reduce stress and anxiety. It can also be associated with creativity and curiosity.
The good news, for those who can’t afford to go to expensive venues to pursue wonder and awe, is that Keltner explains that awe can be cultivated in many ways. As he explains, “I think one of the promises of our digital lives is (having access to) more aesthetic awe, and getting you to artists that you wouldn’t ordinarily find in a museum.” Slowing down, taking a walk outside, putting your phone down and relaxing are all ways to try to bring more awe into your life.