Evidence That It Works
In three experiments, participants were induced to feel awe—such as by watching an awe-inspiring video—as well as other emotions. People who experienced awe felt that they had more time available to themselves, were less impatient, were more willing to volunteer their time to help others, preferred having positive experiences over material products, and reported greater life satisfaction.
Why Does It Matter?
Awe is a natural part of learning. It inspires us, making us feel connected to something larger than ourselves and changing how we think about our place in the world. In other words, awe can help students find meaning in what they’re learning—a powerful tool for motivation and engagement. Here is a beautiful story from Humans of New York about a student who most likely experienced awe during a science experiment.
Awe can also help students who feel bogged down by daily routines and mundane concerns, stifling their sense of creativity and wonder. Feeling awe can help students reawaken those feelings of inspiration. Research suggests that awe has a way of lifting people outside of their usual, more narrow sense of self and connecting them with something larger and more significant. This sense of broader connectedness and purpose can help relieve negative moods and improve happiness.