A few weeks ago, I wrote to a new contact the following “even so I do what I do as Chocolate Angel started already over 10 years ago, but the moment itself is every time an ‘Awe’ moment for me 😍” When I wrote these words it was a completely spontaneous thought, it just came out, you could perhaps call it an expression of my ‘gut feeling’.
A couple of days later, we met and talked over the agreed lunch meeting. She expressed how much this phrase resounded with her. So it became clear, I wanted to research this more. What is ‘Awe’, where did I heard about it, why would it come to my mind to describe my interactions as Chocolate Angel in this way.
I first heard about Awe from Dacher Keltner at the Berkley course ‘The science of Happiness’ on the edx.org portal. It was the first time in my life that I studied at an University, at the time the course was recommended to me from my oldest and best friend in Germany. The learnings from this 8 weeks long course stayed with me ever since. I might talk about it in a future post, but let me get back to the Awe emotion.
What I learned just now is that Professor Dacher Keltner is one of the researchers in the world when it comes to Awe and many other emotions.
I still have access to all the material from the course itself, so I looked through all the references on my search of ‘Awe’. There it was, et voilá “child-like sense of wonder” that brings it all together, at least for me. I often say I’m still deeply connected to my inner child. For the good and not so good memories, my ability to connect in a playful way with kids of any age around me. To be able to have the same awe effect when a piece of paper is traveling down a little water stream, or similar simple but beautiful moments.
Awe walk exercise:edx.org – The Science of Happiness
Tap into your child-like sense of wonder. Young children are in an almost constant state of awe since everything is so new to them. During your walk, try to approach what you see with fresh eyes, imagining that you’re seeing it for the first time.
Meeting people with a big smile & my box full of chocolate, sweets and childhood memories, every time it feels like it is the first time. Through the eyes of my inner child, I observe what is happening, to embrace every positive & unique reaction. Over the years in conversations I would often state that it is such an amazing reaction, to see how people change in a millisecond, from looking busy, sad, tired or exhausted. One interaction with the Chocolate Angel and you see the most beautiful smile appearing on their faces. People would respond to my description, “yeah, but by now you are aware of your impact on people, don’t you?”. My rational ‘adult’ brain is aware of it, my ‘inner child – soul’ reacts with ‘Awe’ every single time.
A more recent study found that experiencing awe increased perceptions of time and led to a greater willingness to donate time, but not to donate money. The greater willingness to donate time appeared to be driven by decreased impatience after experiencing awe. Experiencing awe also led participants to report greater momentary life satisfaction and stronger preferences for experiential versus material goods (e.g. prefer a massage to a watch). Awe, unlike most other positive emotions, has been shown to increase systematic processing, rather than heuristic processing, leading participants who experience awe to become less susceptible to weak arguments.Wikipedia: Social consequences of Awe
After this research and insights into my own thinking & doing, I confirm that my ‘gut feeling’ from the beginning of this article is valid and I’m glad I was triggered to go down this route of digging deeper.
Let me finish by sharing with all my ‘adult’ readers the same I share with the dear kids in my life: “Ensure you never loose contact with your inner child, for the rest of your life”