Is there a key to inspiring more kindness, cooperation, and connection in people? As it turns out, the experience of awe might be just the emotion we need to create a better shared future! As dance teachers awe can help us with creativity and provide us inspiration.
When was the last time you felt a sense of awe?
It’s a feeling triggered by moments like gazing up at the stars on a crystal-clear night, looking out at natures beauty, experiencing a dance performance that moves us or standing next to an ancient tree. And, while it is an awe-some feeling, it can do far more than just make us feel good!
Awe helps us break down the barriers between us, connect with one another, and changes our behavior on a fundamental level. So, what would be possible if we lived our lives with more awe?
What is awe?
Awe is a complex emotional state. A variety of experiences can trigger it, from seeing the Grand Canyon, to hearing a great speaker, to watching a moving dance piece, to listening to the crescendo of a moving piece of music.
Studies have shown that experiencing awe makes us more prone to positive behavior towards others. We are less likely to care exclusively about ourselves after experiencing awe and we feel better connected as a part of a larger whole.
But is there more happening with awe? If we know that these positive behaviors are already associated with experiencing awe, what’s happening in our brains when this happens, and what other behaviors might be affected?
How Awe Changes Us…
There’s this feeling of vastness that comes alongside awe that’s sometimes breathtaking. In that vastness, there’s a feeling something is so great, so grand, that we have to change our understanding of the world in order to accommodate this amazing experience. Look up at an ancient tree and suddenly you are struck by how ancient the world is, and you’re forced to rethink your understanding of time. Or, cheer alongside fans of your favorite sports team as the arena erupts and you have to readjust your love for the game. That is why dance competitions have also become so popular especially with parents.
Awe often changes us on a fundamental level. It can make us feel we have more time available to us, make us less impatient, and make us more willing to volunteer our time. It is a self-transcendent emotion alongside compassion and gratitude that some researchers believe helped us evolve as humans and gives us the ability to care for one another, cooperate and coordinate as a group. As dance teachers and or dance studio owners we can all use more of these great attributes.
If awe appears to be so central to who we are, how do we access it more often? How do we use it to draw us closer together, and help us cooperate better?
Perhaps, this comes with seeking out the experience of awe more often. If we make a habit of seeing awe around us in science, nature, or performance, we will start to experience it more. We can do things as simple as looking up and being open to the world. Be present. Put down your phone. Allow the world around you to awe you. Even simple things like sunrises and sunsets are very often awe inspiring. And they happen every day!
If we look at the world with a more open mind and look at it with a sense of possibility, we are far more likely to see awe all around us.
So, where will you find awe in the unexpected?
Check out this great video on “Awe” that will inspire you!