Awe Narrative

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 15 mins
(4 member ratings)

Time Required

15 minutes

How to Do It

Think back to a time when you felt a sense of awe regarding something you witnessed or experienced. Awe has been defined as a response to things that are perceived as vast and overwhelming and that alter the way you understand the world. This sense of vastness can be physical (e.g., a panoramic view from a mountaintop) or psychological (e.g., a brilliant idea). People may experience awe when they are in the presence of a beautiful natural landscape or work of art, when they watch a moving speech or performance, when they witness an act of great altruism, or when they have a spiritual or religious experience.  

Try to think of the most recent experience you’ve had that involved the feeling of awe. Once you identify something, describe it in writing with as much detail as possible.

Join us for The Art & Science of Awe:

A day of cutting-edge research and awe-inspiring performances

Date: June 4, 2016
Location: UC Berkeley campus

At this day-long event, the leading scientific experts on awe—including the GGSC's Dacher Keltner—will reveal how it can improve our mental, physical, and social well-being. Their talks will be complemented by inspiring presentations and performances by educators, thinkers, and artists, including world-renowned musician Wu Man and former US poet laureate Robert Hass. 5 CE credit hours available. Register now>

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 15 mins
(4 member ratings)

Why You Should Try It

This exercise asks you to recall and describe a time when you experienced awe. Awe is an emotion that is elicited by experiences that challenge and expand our typical way of seeing the world. Research suggests that awe involves sensing the presence of something greater than the self, along with decreased self-consciousness and a decreased focus on minor, everyday concerns. Experiences of awe have been shown to expand people’s perception of time and improve life satisfaction.

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 15 mins
(4 member ratings)

Evidence That It Works

Rudd, M., Vohs, K. D., & Aaker, J. (2012). Awe expands people’s perception of time, alters decision making, and enhances well-beingPsychological Science, 23(10), 1130-1136.

In three experiments, participants who were induced to feel awe, compared with other emotions, felt that they had more time available, were less impatient, were more willing to volunteer their time to help others, preferred experiences over material products, and reported greater life satisfaction.

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 15 mins
(4 member ratings)

Why It Works

Taking time out to reflect on past experiences of awe can help people break up their routine and challenge themselves to think in new ways. Evoking feelings of awe may be especially helpful when people are feeling bogged down by day-to-day concerns. Research suggests that awe has a way of lifting people outside of their usual selves and connecting them with something larger and more significant. This sense of broader connectedness and purpose can help relieve negative moods and improve happiness. 

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 15 mins
(4 member ratings)

Sources

Melanie Rudd, Ph.D., University of Houston

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 15 mins
(4 member ratings)

For More

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: 15 mins
(4 member ratings)

Could your life be more awesome? Take our Awe Quiz to find out:

Completion Status

Comments & Reviews

  1. Fide De Viáncha
    Fide De Viáncha
    February 28, 2016

    Cuando contemplo una maravilla quedo impresionada de su grandeza y no encuentro palabras para descrbirla

  2. chermrtn60@gmail.com
    chermrtn60@gmail.com
    September 28, 2015

  3. Jason Marsh
    Jason Marsh
    June 30, 2015

  4. Jami Blaauw-Hara
    Jami Blaauw-Hara
    May 27, 2015

    At first I felt dumb because my awe experience was long ago, as if I'd lost the ability to feel awe and was a bad person. But then, as I wrote, I realized it was a fundamental experience for me.

  5. Bernie Wong
    Bernie Wong
    April 28, 2015

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