In case you didn’t realize it, your emotions influence your physical health. It’s long been known that the emotions of love and compassion activate your parasympathetic system (the healing and restoration system) and stress activates the sympathetic system (fight or flight).
Well as you can read in this article in detail, our immune systems are powerfully impacted by our emotions. That’s a very important point because the state of our emotions can influence how well we fight off infections as well as how much inflammation is present in our bodies. Since inflammation is the root of all disease this is critical. I was fascinated that the feeling of awe was found to be most effective in fighting inflammation.
While studies showed that positive emotions in general produced lower IL-6 levels (a marker for inflammation), awe was found to be the most powerful and effective. So what is awe – it’s described as feelings of wonder and amazement. The dictionary defines it as “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.”
Things that inspire us and cause us to experience awe will be different for each of us. While being in nature or watching a magnificent sunset may inspire awe in me, perhaps painting or creating pottery inspires you to experience awe.
What makes you feel truly alive and feel you have to say “wow?” That’s what you want to try and find ways to incorporate into your life daily.
What inspires awe in you?
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Ann, “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder” reminds me of God’s awesome wonders! The natural history museum has done that for me too.
Absolutely Debbie – me too!