Scientists have begun studying what some call the "spiritual emotions," feelings like gratitude, compassion, hope and awe. An unexpected glimpse of a sunset, crocuses poking bravely through the snow, a toddler's kindness to a weeping friend, soaring birds in flight. We all know the sudden shift we sense when witnessing something awesome. But who knew that feeling was actually good for your health?
In a recent project researchers studied 119 college freshmen to discover the relationship between positive emotions and health. They measured students' levels of interleukin-6, a protein associated with stress and inflammation in the body. Not surprisingly, those students reporting more negative emotions measured higher levels of interleukin-6. Those reporting more positive emotions had lower levels.
What surprised researchers was which emotions dropped interleukin-6 most dramatically. Awe came in ahead of love, enthusiasm, inspiration and all the other positive emotions on the list!
We can up our awe-quota by paying closer attention to awesome moments in our lives and by setting ourselves up for new experiences. For a three-minute video sure to take your breath away, click here. Some lovely person captured starlings in flight over Scotland and then added stunning background music.
God bless technology.
And starlings in someone else's back yard.