Self-Assessment: How Awe-Struck are You?

In a earlier post, I wrote about how feelings of awe can affect our decision making. Here you can take a quick self-assessment as to how often you experience awe in your own life.

Note that this self-assessment is not a scientifically normed scale. The items are loosely based on Michelle Shiota and her colleagues’ scales of dispositional positive emotions, where awe is one out of seven positive €emotions (the other six being joy, pride, contentment, compassion, amusement, and love). So far, not much research has been done on whether €experiencing€ awe is a stable trait within€ a person’s €personality structure. But regardless of whether €some people are more €naturally prone to it than others, the feeling of awe€ is an experience that we can seek out, if we choose to look for it.

Would you like to experience more awe in your life? If so, try to surround yourself more with natural beauty and seek experiences that expand your horizon. Or as one group of researchers put it: look for things that have “perceptual vastness”, to the extent that they might dramatically expand your usual frame of reference. In experiments, the feeling of awe has often been induced with images or videos of stunning landscapes, night skies, or the real experience of nature, such as standing under towering trees. The Greater Good Science Center (SGCC) at UC Berkeley suggests this video as a practice. There are also certain types of music that have been used successfully to induce awe, such as the song Hoppípolla by Sigur Rós.

If you take another look at the self-assessment scale above: on which of the items could you get a higher score with the easiest changes in your daily habits or leisure activities?

by Ursina Teuscher (PhD), at Teuscher Decision Coaching, Portland OR

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