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8 ways to make life breathtaking
8 ways to make life breathtaking

It turns out it's not that difficult.

8 ways to make life breathtaking
8 ways to make life breathtaking

Remember these indescribable feelings when you look at the mountains or listen to a great opera? Researchers call this feeling awe.


Decker Keltner Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, founder of the Greater Good Center.

I define awe as being close to something huge and mysterious, something that you cannot fully understand.

Why is it important to be in awe as often as possible?

Awe improves our lives in several ways at once.

It changes the perception of the world

American scientists have found that awe has a positive effect on our perception of the world and how we make decisions. He can change our understanding of time, expanding and filling it, which helps us not to leave thoughts in the past or the future, but to be here and now.


Jennifer Stellar is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto.

People find that the feeling of awe becomes a very deep experience for them. Awe helps people see the world differently. I think this is very valuable.

It improves physical health

Scientists have found that the feeling of awe reduces the level of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These protective molecules are released when a person becomes ill. But if there are a lot of them all the time, serious health problems can begin: the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, depression increases.

It has a positive effect on mental well-being

Dutch scientists showed people breathtaking slides and closely monitored the condition of the subjects. As a result, it turned out that the thrill felt by the participants in the experiment significantly improves their mood.

In addition, awe increases life satisfaction and helps us to be skeptical about weak opinions and arguments.

He makes us more social

Research has shown 1.

2. that people in awe are more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior, that is, a willingness to benefit others and society as a whole.

In doing so, awe not only shifts our attention to those around us, but also helps us feel connected with them. It creates a kind of bridge between what Keltner calls the "habitual self" (our desires to achieve goals, improve our status and improve our lives) and our inner need to be part of society and help others.

How to add more exciting moments to life

When every day is filled with work stresses and household chores, the feeling of thrill seems like an unattainable luxury. Fortunately, this is not the case. Thrill can be experienced anytime, anywhere, with a few proven methods. Decker Keltner provides eight tips.

1. Notice the inner beauty of others

The moral beauty and courage of others, as well as their talents and unique abilities, can be awe-inspiring.


Decker Keltner

We often think that we should take our breath away only from fundamental things - natural phenomena or spiritual practices. But in fact, the stories and fates of other people can affect us just as much. We have found that 50 to 60% of inspiring experiences occur when we are impressed by others.

2. Synchronize with those who are nearby

Keltner points out that not only does it feel awe, but it also strengthens social bonds and creates a sense of connection with others. Recent research has shown that people become more generous and accommodating after walking in unison with others (such as dancing, choral singing, or even walking toe-to-toe).

3. Spend more time in nature

Get in the habit of going for at least 15-minute walks to the nearest park every week.

One study by a psychologist and his colleagues confirmed that such walks increase the number of positive emotions. Experts at the Keltner Science Center even formulated several rules for a successful walk: you need not be distracted by the phone, count to six with each inhalation and exhalation, and concentrate now on breathing, now on the surrounding sounds and sights.


Decker Keltner

Consider the patterns on trees and leaves, get some fresh air, think of the infinity of space around you.

4. Listen to or create music

Remember the feeling of pleasant creeps all over your body when you listen to a solemn symphony, sing a touching song or play a beautiful melody on a musical instrument? Music is one of the most versatile sources of that elusive feeling when it takes your breath away.

You can not only listen or play, but also try to compose your own music. And if you gather a small group or become a member of a choir, synchronization with others will definitely help you feel a pleasant thrill.

5. Enjoy the art

Unusual conceptual exhibitions, art-house films, classical sculpture - the greatness and beauty of art can easily take your breath away.

Aesthetic images also evoke pleasant feelings. For example, participants in one study felt awe when they watched a slow-motion video of drops of colored water falling beautifully into a bowl of milk.

6. Don't Forget Spiritual Experiences

Scientists have found that spiritual experiences and even memories of them evoke a feeling of awe. They can be anything: religious participants in the study more often recalled faith, life and death, while non-religious people were breathtaking from yoga, meditation, or communication with nature. In general, you can do anything. The main thing is that it matters to you.

7. Try to understand something significant


Decker Keltner

Global ideas are breathtaking - take, for example, Marxism, evolution or the market economy.

You don't have to regularly look for fresh ideas, just try to look at familiar things from a new angle. Keltner suggests starting with the simplest things. For example, think about clouds or waves, how they form and how they affect the world around us.

Or try studying quantum physics: it will be difficult at first, but the clearer this topic becomes for you, the more thrill you will feel. Literature lovers can make out complex metaphorical verses and poems: when you get to the meaning of the work, you will definitely take your breath away.

8. Think about life and death

Parents who saw the magic of childbirth with their own eyes know firsthand how amazing it is. Facing death can evoke similar feelings. This does not mean that you need to deliberately put your life at risk in pursuit of awe. Many modern films, TV series and books fully reveal the theme of life and death and help to experience strong feelings.


Decker Keltner

We usually talk about awe as a miracle that can happen only once in a lifetime. In fact, this feeling is all around us.

If the professor’s advice didn’t work for you, don’t despair. Keep gaining experience and trying new things. Perhaps you will find another way to make your life exciting!