Awe: An Emotion That Can Prevent Diseases and How You Can Get It
Wondering if you read that right? Yes, it’s true! An emotion can help prevent diseases. Here is the proof and a few tips on how you can trigger the emotion, awe.
Being healthy is not only about being physically healthy, it’s also essential to take care of your mental health and well-being. It is only common knowledge that if you are not feeling your best emotionally and mentally, your physical health will follow along with it. Negative emotions like stress, depression, and anxiety have long been linked to be the cause of various diseases like heart disease and hypertension. Meanwhile, positive emotions contribute to the improvement of your physical health. However, did you know that there is one particular emotion or feeling that has been proven to prevent diseases? It’s true! A study done by the University of California, Berkeley has proven that the emotion “awe” can actually keep inflammation away.
For the study, UC Berkeley initially asked for the cooperation of 94 students and gave them a questionnaire about the emotions they felt in that past month, both good and bad, negative and positive. The students then had to give saliva samples to have them tested for Interleukin-6. Interleukin-6, or IL-6 for short, is actually a molecule that’s known to promote inflammation throughout the body and inflammation can then cause illnesses like heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, and even cancer. The test results from the saliva samples showed that the students who felt more positive emotions had lower levels of IL-6 than those who felt more negative emotions.
After the results on the first test were reviewed, UC Berkeley decided to do a more specific study. They then enlisted the help of 119 students for the next test and gave them a much more specific and elaborate questionnaire that focused on the particular emotions: awe, amusement, compassion, contentment, joy, love and pride. The results showed that positive emotions in general were still linked to lower levels of IL-6, however, there was one particular emotion that was associated with the lowest levels of IL-6. That emotion was awe. Basically, there is something about awe that can prevent inflammation more effectively. So now that you have the proof, want to know how you can trigger this feeling and keep away inflammation? Here are a few ways you can inspire some awe in yourself:
One of the best ways to trigger some awe in your life is to really see and take in the world that you live in. Save up and take some time to travel to places and see the beauty of the world around you. If you can’t go too far or often, you can still take mini-trips to nearby places that still hold a lot of natural beauty. In your country or state alone there are so many places that you can go to experience the beauty of the world, aesthetic and culturally. And if you can, travel to places that you have always wanted to visit, like Paris, Rome, Bali, Hawaii, or wherever your heart pleases! It’s pretty awe-inspiring to see the diversity and beauty of the world all around you. Even just watching the sunset can trigger some awesome feelings in you.
Encourage Your Passions
Different people have different interests and passions. If you have something or multiple things that you love a lot, consider yourself very lucky to have found something that you are passionate about and definitely encourage that love. Whether it be books, movies, music, art, writing, sports, poetry, charity work, or whatever makes you feel happy and alive, go on and nourish the passion that you have for them. You can do this by joining a community of people who love the same things you do, join some causes, go to events, expand your knowledge, have exciting and interesting conversations with the people who share your passion, and just delight in the way you’ve found a passion, people you can share it with, and how you are spreading some delight to the world in your own little way.
Go to Live Shows
Going to live shows of artists or hearing stories that you love can be such an awe-inspiring experience. Going to concerts of bands or artists that you love is such an exhilarating experience, and has long been proven to spark inspiration and good feelings. You can trigger intense emotions, passions, and adrenaline when you go to a concert, see the artist that you love, and feel the energy of the people around you who share the same love you do. The same feeling can come from theatre show, ballet, art show, and any other live performances. If your budget is tight, try setting aside a little bit every month until you can purchase a ticket to a show you love. It’s okay to splurge on something once in awhile, especially for the benefit of your health and happiness!
Be In the Moment with Loved Ones
Most of the time, people are busy with everything from school to work, family, or just different activities that take up a lot of your time. When everyone is busy, it’s you start to see your family and friends less. But no matter how busy you are, find the time to spend with your family, friends, and loved ones. Once you are there with them, really be in the moment and appreciate how you have these amazing people in your life. Relish in the laughter, familiarity, smiles, and love in the room when you have them with you. This can inspire a powerful feeling of awe and appreciation once you really bring yourself to pay attention and be in the moment.
Find Some Inspiration
Everyone needs a little inspiration in their life, and different people find different things and people to inspire them. Your inspiration can be your favorite musician, artist, actor, philanthropist, and scientist, or it can be a loved one like your mom, dad, grandparent, girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse. You can find it your passions, in people, religion, spirituality, school, and even in work. You can find inspiration basically anywhere. Focus on your inspiration and really contemplate on what makes special to you. Inspiration will trigger awe in you and definitely motivate you to nourish what it is that you love.
Struck with Awe
There are lots of medicines out there to help with the prevention of diseases, but now that it’s been proven that a positive emotion can keep inflammation away, why not try a fun way to prevent diseases? Go ahead and inspire some more awe into your life. These are just some rough guidelines on how you can get it, but different people have different ways of feeling emotions. Find out some more things you can do to feel awe more often. It’s not only super fun, but it’s guaranteed to be good for you.