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Lions Roar : September 2019
multitude of sights, sounds, smells, and other sensations that are dancing through your awareness, usually undetected. Once you get in the habit of taking walks like this, you may be struck by how frequently you have opportunities to experience awe—they are practically infinite. As you move through your day, take note of the moments that bring you wonder, that give you goosebumps: these are your opportunities for awe. They may be in city areas, in front of art, listening to music, or connecting with others. Go out and find your awe moments, listen to them carefully, and see where they guide you. As they stir humility and wonder, you may discover that they point you toward what you’re supposed to do while you’re here on Earth. Evidence It Works In an experiment reported in the Jour- nal of Personality and Social Psychology (“Awe, the Small Self, and Prosocial Behavior,” by Piff, Dietze, Feinberg, Stan- cato, and Keltner), some participants stood in a grove of towering eucalyptus trees and gazed up for one minute. Oth- ers looked up at a building (not a par- ticularly awe-inspiring one) for a minute. Afterwards, someone working with the researchers “accidentally” spilled a bunch of pens on the ground. Those who had looked at the trees subsequently offered more help than the ones who looked at the building. They also seemed less inclined to behave in unethical ways and felt less strongly that they were entitled to preferential treatment. Why It Works Research suggests that the sense of broader connectedness and purpose evoked by awe can help relieve negative moods and improve happiness, and it can also make people more generous as they become less focused on themselves. Evoking feelings of awe may be especially helpful when people are feeling bogged down by day-to-day concerns. ♦ LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2019 26