The word “awesome” has become engrained in our daily vocabulary. But did you know that at its root it is actually an expression of wonder? According to psychologists, wonder or awe is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with something so strikingly vast in number, scope, or complexity that it alters the way you view the world. It has such an effect on us that when people experience feelings of wonder, they are susceptible to lower risks for depression, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
When in the presence of wonder, people also tend to feel like time has slowed down and we really can take it all in or are able to volunteer our time to something other than ourselves. This is largely because wonderment allows you to feel connected to the world, which reduces your ego and allows you to be a part of the “bigger picture.”
When you take a moment to understand and appreciate small moments, it’s easy to become absorbed in the wonder of the world around you. Find out more below about the science behind wonder and share with your friends and family just how awesome awe is.
The science behind wonder
We have partnered with UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center to provide you with these scientific facts. Click on an item below to expand and reveal more.
Psychologists define awe as the feeling we get when we come across something so strikingly vast in number, scope, or complexity that it alters the way we understand the world.
Based on their physiological makeup, people who experience feelings of wonder and wonder seem to be at lower risk for depression, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
When we’re in the presence of something tremendous—like a whale or a waterfall—we feel like we have more time and are less impatient, which makes us more willing to volunteer our time to help others.
When people experience a sense of wonder, they report feeling more satisfied with their lives.
When we’re in the presence of something wonder-inspiring, we put less emphasis on our ego and feel connected to a greater whole.
After looking up at an impressive eucalyptus grove, people were more helpful to someone in need and felt less entitled to a reward.