Study: Awe is the Cure in Facing the Anxiety-Inducing Unknown
The state of awe has been labeled the ‘best strategy yet’ for alleviating the discomfort that comes from uncertainty and anxiety, according to a new study.
The research explores the most excruciating form of waiting: the period during which one awaits uncertain news, the outcome of which is beyond one’s control, i.e. the unknown.
Researchers found that activities that inspire awe, such as meditation, offer great relief due to offering perspective to a given situation.
The research drew from two studies, for a total of 729 participants.
In the first test, participants took a faux intelligence assessment, and in the second test, participants believed they were awaiting feedback on how other study participants perceived them.
In both cases, they watched one of three movies that inspired varying levels of awe.
Researchers found that those exposed to the awe-induction video experienced significantly greater positive emotion and less anxiety during the period waiting for IQ test results and peer assessments.