Evidence That It Works
In a study of 119 undergraduate students (75% female), participants kept a diary every day for two weeks of their positive emotions (including awe) and well-being, as well as a written description of one daily experience of awe or positive emotion. The written descriptions were examined by researchers for content about nature experiences. The study found that the people who had daily experiences of nature felt more awe, and, as a result, increased their well-being.
Why Does it Matter?
Exposure to nature has long been associated with well-being for both adults and young people. Similarly, awe, which can be elicited by nature, has been associated with many positive benefits, such as reductions in stress and promotion of mental well-being.
Specifically, in a study of 610 adolescents (ages 13 – 16) in central China, researchers found that students who reported frequently feeling awe, experienced more mindful thinking and meaning in life, and subsequently reported greater life satisfaction.
In addition, connecting with and feeling a sense of awe for nature has also been shown to lead to greater respect for nature and more sustainable and ecological behaviors.