The Cognitive Benefits of Seeking Awe-Inspiring Experiences

An article by David Robson of the BBC explores the idea that when we seek the feeling of awe, we will experience cognitive and emotional benefits. Ethan Kross, professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, explains that “feelings of awe can have a truly profound influence on the mind — enhancing our memory and creativity as well as inspiring us to act more altruistically to the people around us. It can also have a profound impact on our mental health, by allowing us to put our anxieties into perspective.” As Michelle Shiota, professor of social psychology at Arizona State University, puts it, “the brain is constantly forming predictions of what will happen next; it uses its experiences to form mental stimulations that guide our perception, attention and behavior. Awe-inspiring experiences — with their sense of grandeur, wonder and amazement — may confound those expectations, creating a ‘little earthquake’ in the mind that causes the brain to reassess its assumptions and to pay more attention to what is actually in front of it.” So, next time you’re in a mental rut, lacking creativity, or feeling anxious, seek out or think about something awe-some, like how we can talk to a loved one across the globe through our phones or how we can send humans to the moon. 


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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

Taylor Marks
Taylor Marks is a certified holistic health coach and professionally trained chef from The Institute of Culinary Education. Her passions include the latest research in health science, culinary arts, holistic wellness, and guiding others towards feeling their best.