Emotions are powerful things. They’re a defining characteristic of humanity, as well as the motivation behind our behaviors. You can’t deny that the emotions like love, hate, happiness, jealousy and sadness drives us to behave the way we do.
The emotion that we do seem to have an obsession with is happiness. It’s constantly in the news, books are written about it and there’s a whole psychology movement that deals with it. As a society, we really want to be happy.
However, there’s a consistently underrated emotion that barely comes up in conversation and barely makes headlines. Many of us experience it from time to time, but it’s not nearly as common as happiness, sadness or anger.
Until recently, it’s been a largely overlooked area of psychology. So, which emotion has been flying under the radar?
It’s the emotion we call awe. Researchers are beginning to discover how powerful this elusive emotion can be, as well as some of its surprising benefits. Not only is awe worthy of your attention, but here are six ways it may even be more powerful than happiness:
1. Awe-Defining Moment
Trying to define awe is a bit like trying to define any other emotion. It’s easier to describe the sensations associated with it, rather than the feeling itself.
In truth, we’ve all had that tingling sensation that runs down our spine or experienced something that’s given us goosebumps. It’s an event that causes us to feel small and challenges our mental understanding.
While the sensation is universally felt, the causes behind it can vary from person to person. It might come from standing next to an ancient sequoias and looking up, staring at the vastness of the cosmos or experiencing the Aurora Borealis for the first time.
It’s not just nature, though. For others, it might be caused by studying an expertly painted portrait, a personal sacrifice made for a fellow human or a rhythmic crescendo in a beautiful song. These events not only inspire the human soul, but you might be interested to learn the effects they have on our minds and bodies.