Being with my family in Israel always brings back sweet memories of my childhood. From tasty treats, games, to geographical places, my heart feels at home here.
One of the gifts of growing up in a place where there was freedom to roam and explore, was the experience of fascination with the world. I remember staring at ants for hours, looking up at the eucalyptus trees with wonderment, and riding my bike down hill over and over to feel the rush of wind and adrenaline.
As adults we often loose this childlike awe and wonder with how amazing our body, the world, and the universe really are.
Today as often happens, science is chiming in on the powerful effects of fascination and wonder.
A Berkeley study used striking images to elicit awe in subjects whose brains were monitored by an FMRI scanner. They found that awe lights up the region of the brain that becomes active when we are touched, or when a mother sees pictures of her baby. Awe increased oxytocin which makes us feel warm and fuzzy toward others. http://www.oprah.com/health/The-Science-of-Awe-and-Fulfillment#ixzz2DK3pjKMA
Another study found that emotions felt when encountering something jaw-dropping and overwhelming slow down our perception of time and fix the mind on the present moment. Participants felt a boost in life satisfaction which led them to be more patient, less materialistic, and more willing to give up time to help others.
A little bit of AWE can go a long way...