Awe brings Health

Awe as a Pathway to Mental and Physical Health describes how experiences in nature or in spiritual contemplation or in being moved by music or with psychedelics promote mental and physical health. The article is define awe at its core. Awe engages five processes that benefit well-being:
(1) shifts in neurophysiology,
(2) a diminished focus on the self,
(3) increased prosocial relationality,
(4) greater social integration,
(5) and a heightened sense of meaning

The experiences of awe that arise in nature, spirituality, music, collective movement, and psychedelics strengthen the mind and body.

awe as a pathway to mental and physical health.
This model shows that awe experiences will lead to the mediators that will lead to better mental and physical-health outcomes. Note that the relationships between awe experiences and mediators, and mediators and outcomes have been empirically identified; the entire pathways have only recently begun to be tested.
One-headed arrows suggest directional relationships, and two-headed arrows suggest bidirectionality.
DMN = default-mode network; PTSD = posttraumatic stress disorder.

The awe-health pathway proposed here may be specific to positive awe experiences. Threat-based awe is experienced as more negative and may produce diverging effects on mental and physical health. For example, studies examining threat-based awe have found diverging neural activity, lower effects on prosociality, and minimal to negative effects on well-being compared with positive awe experiences.

This review made the case for how domains that have been the provenance of awe experiences for thousands of years—nature, spirituality, music, dance, and psychedelics—bring about mind-body benefits through awe-related processes. In each of these realms, it is clear that awe is prominent, and the evidence for its benefits is promising and preliminary.
The discoveries of how awe shifts physiology, the sense of self, orientations to others, and the search for meaning point to precise process-like studies for understanding how sublime realms, from nature to music, can benefit the mind and body.

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