The Amazing Benefits of Awe
July 4, 2019
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Two studies done by postdoctoral fellow Craig L. Anderson showed the benefits of people experiencing awe in nature. The first study involved the study of people going on one to four day white water rafting trips. The second focused on a group and their everyday experiences involving nature over a period of two weeks. In both studies those who reported having awe-inducing experiences experienced higher levels of short-term satisfaction and longer-term well-being. (OUTDOOR Magazine, 5/19/2019, p. 83)
In a different study people attending the entertainment extravaganza of Cirque du Soleil were outfitted with EEG caps at ten performances. The participants completed psychological tests both before and after the performances. The results were dramatic and showed that experiencing awe brings about a greater tolerance to risk, increases creativity, combats stress and helps in creating a more optimistic view of the future. (AAA LIVING Magazine, May/June 2019, p. 10)
The results of all of this research shouldn’t surprise us when we recall how good it feels when we experience something awesome, when we experience awe. We can experience awe in a variety of ways, by observing something in nature, enjoying a great piece of art or music, watching an amazing play in a sporting event, or by observing the sacrificial or heroic efforts of someone who came to the rescue of someone.
Craig L. Anderson and his researchers defined awe as “the feeling we have in the presence of something exceptional that transcends understanding.” When you stop and think about it, what or who could be more exceptional and transcendent than God? He’s the ultimate source of awe! One of the great benefits of establishing and nurturing a relationship with God is that we can regularly experience awe because God is awesome!
Every day can provide opportunities for experiencing awe when we practice the presence of God. Whether we’re observing His creation, recognizing how He’s working through a person we’ve encountered, or even reminding ourselves of His presence when going through a painful experience, in all of these circumstances and others too we can experience His awesome presence and working. We’ll feel better and live better because there are amazing benefits with experiencing awe!
“The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.” Psalm 65:8