'Awe Therapy' Can Ease Our Hurried Minds

The Northern Lights or Grand Canyon can 'make us nicer'

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 22, 2012 3:15 PM CDT

(Newser) Awwwesome. Say it enough, and your health improves—at least according to those who believe in "awe therapy." Researchers at Stanford University say that people who have "awesome" experiences, like seeing the Grand Canyon or the Northern Lights, get fixed on the present moment and feel time slowing down. They become more patient, less focused on material things, and more willing to spend time helping others, the Independent reports.

The researchers had participants watch videos of people in city streets who encounter awesome things, like whales and waterfalls—or had them write about personal memories like looking down on Paris from the Eiffel tower. "Awe-eliciting experiences might offer one effective solution to the feelings of time-starvation that plague so many people in modern life," the researchers said. Other studies have linked "lack of time" feelings to poor sleep, headaches, and high blood pressure.

In this March 9, 2011 file photo, the aurora borealis, or northern lights, fill the sky above Takotna, Alaska.   (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bob Hallinen, FILE)
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