I’m willing to bet if I asked you to recall a moment of being genuinely awestruck, it’s going to be from something wilderness-related. For me, the first things that come to mind are seeing a simultaneous sunset and moonrise at the Grand Canyon, or the first time I hiked through the marine layer and popped through the clouds at the top of Sandstone Peak, my very first view of the waters of Crater Lake, or this recent view from a hike up Dog Mountain in Washington State:
If you shared your favorite moments, you’d probably get just like I do – gazing off into the distance with a smile on your face thinking about each individual second of the experience, and just feeling great all over again. Now, a new study out from Stanford confirms all of those feelings – and describes how they might have played an important role in the evolution of our species.
According to the study, being awestruck actually expands our perception of time. Beyond that, those experiences were also found to make people more patient and more willing to volunteer time to help others. Those moments also increased desire for actual experiences over material goods and – in case you couldn’t gather already – increased overall satisfaction and happiness in life.
Wow. Not too shabby. Philosopher Jason Silva summarizes it in video:
I know it’s going to be hot this weekend. Maybe you’re going back to school – or maybe you’re thinking about whether or not you can afford that shiny new iPhone 5 that’s going to be announced soon. Or maybe you’re just feeling a little lost. How about taking a little time this weekend to hike a trail to find yourself some genuine awe? It’s good for what ails ya!