Awe: a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder. An overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like.
Carl Sagan once said, "Every aspect of nature reveals a deep mystery and touches our sense of wonder and awe."
Researchers at UC Berkeley have found that "awe — as opposed to joy, pride, amusement, contentment and other positive emotions — is the singular sensation that goes the furthest in boosting one’s overall sense of well-being." . . . “It’s the active ingredient that explains why being in nature is good for us,” said study lead author Craig Anderson, a postdoctoral researcher and fellow at UC Berkeley and at UCSF. (https://news.berkeley.edu/2018/07/12/awe-nature-ptsd/)
Another researcher, Paul Piff, at UC Irvine, has also discovered a variety of health benefits for people who experienced feelings of awe from being out in nature. “Experiences of awe attune people to things larger than themselves,” says Piff. “They cause individuals to feel less entitled, less selfish, and to behave in more generous and helping ways.” (https://time.com/4405827/the-healing-power-of-nature/)
Fortunately, even amid our current COVID-19 realities of sheltering in place and social distancing, experts DO recommend spending time each day outdoors in nature, if possible. But even if you aren't able to get outside, or don't have access to safe, healthy outdoor spaces, the good news is that even looking at photos or videos of nature can inspire the kind of awe that yields these benefits.
Today's "Take Five" offers up both a "macro" and a "micro" view of some of the most awe-inspiring parts of our universe.
So, go ahead - give yourself the gift of five minutes to immerse yourself in the deep mystery of nature and allow it to touch your sense of wonder and awe.
MACRO level awe: NASA's Milky Way "Celestial Relaxation" video (note: the entire video is a full hour of stunningly beautiful NASA footage) -
MICRO level awe: "The Beauty of Pollination - Moving Art" - extraordinary video and time-lapse footage by TED speaker Louie Schwartzberg
(PHOTO: Courtesy of Bruce G. Snyder Photography, Aurora Borealis, near Arnarstapi, Iceland - https://brucesnyderphoto.smugmug.com/)