Being in awe can expand time and enhance well-being
Experiences of awe help to brings us into the present moment which, in turn, adjusts our perception of time, influences our decisions, and makes life feel more satisfying than it would otherwise.
It doesn’t matter what creates a feeling of awe within us—a stunning vista, a beautiful painting, a kind act—the complete and overwhelming sense of awe is undeniably good for us. Now, science is backing that up: Melanie Rudd and Jennifer Aaker of Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management published the study, “Awe Expands People’s Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being,” in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
The scientists studied awe in the lab in three different experiments and found that jaw-dropping moments made participants feel like they had more time available and made them more patient, less materialistic, and more willing to volunteer time to help others.
The effects that awe has on decision-making and well-being can be explained by awe’s ability to actually change our subjective experience of time by slowing it down.
While the science behind awe is interesting, part of what awe makes awe is that mystical, magical sense of wonder. Learn the science but let it go as your mind wanders to wonder.
Image: Hunter Valley in Aspen, Colorado