A new study has suggested you swap your regular walks for ‘awe walks’ if you want to beat anxiety, stress and depression, all while losing weight.
We all know walking is the holy grail of exercise and weight loss. However, it’s time you swapped your regular walks for ‘awe walks’ after a study published in the journal Emotion found this simple act can make a huge impact on your happiness levels and emotional wellbeing.
But wait, what is ‘awe’?
“Awe is a positive emotion triggered by awareness of something vastly larger than the self and not immediately understandable—such as nature, art, music, or being caught up in a collective act such as a ceremony, concert or political march,” said the study’s author and UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner, PhD, in a press release.
“Experiencing awe can contribute to a host of benefits, including an expanded sense of time and enhanced feelings of generosity, well-being, and humility.”
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To conduct the study, researchers examined a group of older adults who went on weekly 15-minute ‘awe walks’ for eight weeks. This simply meant while on their walk, they took a step back and noticed the wonders around them, like the colour of the greenery and so forth.
The participants took selfies at the beginning, middle and end of each walk, and filled out surveys with details about each walk, including any emotions they experienced.
The researchers found those who went on an awe walk reported greater joy and had broader selfie smiles during their walks. They also reported more positive emotions and less distress after their walks, than those who just went on regular walks.
“Experiencing awe is such a simple practice—just taking a moment to look out the window or pausing to consider the technological marvels that surround us—and we now show it can have measurable effects on our emotional well-being,” said the study’s lead author and associate professor at UCSF Virginia Sturm, PhD.
“A little more joy and a little more connectedness with the world around us is something all of us could use these days.”
Also, remember the study was based on a weekly awe walk, so just imagine the benefits you’ll reap from doing it daily.