The New York Times:
Dark moods are bad for your health. Scientists have known for decades that a wide variety of unpleasant emotions, like shame, depression and anxiety, are linked to greater rates of ills like heart disease, inflammation, cancer and premature death. Conversely, positive feelings have been shown to be good for you.
Far less is known, however, about the health benefits of specific upbeat moods — whether contentment, say, might promote good health more robustly than joy or pride does. A new study singles out one surprising emotion as a potent medicine: awe. And happily, awe seems to be much easier to come by than many might expect, even for the busy and stressed-out.
“There seems to be something about awe,” says Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology and the senior author of the study, who is also the faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley. (He has studied laughter, empathy and blushing, too.) “It seems to have a pronounced impact on markers related to inflammation.”
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