This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Free shipping on orders over $50 (NSW, ACT, VIC, SA, QLD) / $75 (WA, TAS) / $100 (NT)

Awe: What’s good about a ‘little earthquake’ in your brain?

Where do you go, or what do you do, to arouse the emotion of awe? It’s an emotion that scientifically has been shown to enhance memory and creativity, as well as inspiring us to act more altruistically to people around us. When we’re awestruck by the mightiness of the ocean, for example, or by the sound of a powerfully affecting voice (think Elvis or Maria Callas), we’re more likely to feel that we’re in the presence of something greater than ourselves. And this can be incredibly helpful for our mental health, because it helps us to reset our perspectives.

As professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, Ethan Kross, notes in a recent article* ‘when you are in the presence of something vast and indescribable, you feel smaller, and so does your negative chatter.’ He adds: ‘the capacity to step outside of ourselves is a really valuable skill.’ Kross himself likes to go to a nearby arboretum, immerse himself among the trees and marvel at the astonishing power of nature. The research of Michelle Shiota, a professor of social psychology at Arizona State University, backs up Kross’s claims. She has conducted experiments which suggest that ‘the brain is constantly forming predictions of what will happen next; it uses its experiences to form mental stimulations that guide our perception, attention and behaviour. Awe-inspiring experiences—with their sense of grandeur, wonder and amazement—may confound those expectations, creating a “little earthquake” in the mind that causes the brain to reassess its assumptions and to pay more attention to what is actually in front of it.’ And if we are paying attention to something right in front and outside of ourselves, we may not only get a bit of respite from our anxieties, but also be much better at expressing generosity to others.

Being in nature is perhaps one of the easiest ways of evoking awe: a feeling of respect and wonder, sometimes tinged with a little fear. A huge wave you’re about to surf. Hiking in mountains that have been made by millennia of seismic and river activity. Looking up at the incandescence of a starry night sky. Or even narrowing in on the swaying grace of the praying mantis as it hunts the grass blades of your backyard.

*‘Awe: the ‘little earthquake’ that could free your mind’ by David Robson, BBC Worklife, at https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20220103-awe-the-little-earthquake-that-could-free-your-mind

Koala Eco Journal

Tips for Swimsuit Care

While long days in the sun, ocean swims, and pool hangouts nourish the soul, they take a toll on our swimsuits. Exposure to heat, salt, and chlorine can cause colours...

Read more

An Hour in Nature: Sarah Humphries

For Sarah Humphries, beauty, health and wellness are more than personal interests: they’re integral to her profession. Sarah is the founder of SHA, an award-winning lifestyle communications agency headquartered in...

Read more

An Hour in Nature: Megan Saunders

Megan Saunders is the founder of Daughters of India, an ethical clothing brand born on the coast of Northern NSW, Australia, committed to sustainable and fair trade production of their...

Read more

An Hour In Nature: Rebecca Jobson

Bringing her heart out into the open: Rebecca Jobson’s Hour in Nature  Rebecca Jobson is the founder of Mini Marley, which makes simple, timeless clothing for babies and children. She...

Read more

Cart

No more products available for purchase

Your cart is currently empty.