The Power of Awe — and Where to Look for It

Researcher Dacher Keltner investigates the elusive emotion of awe, revealing how it transforms our brains and bodies, and how to find more wonder in our everyday lives.

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Dacher Keltner phtographed by Natalie Keltner-McNeil

Dacher Keltner phtographed by Natalie Keltner-McNeil

Hiking through a spectacular mountain valley, singing in a church choir, or gazing at a masterpiece…all experiences that can elicit awe. What sparks that feeling of joy or wonder is different for everyone, but psychology professor Dacher Keltner says the emotion is universal.

His new book, Awe, explores how this emotion has propelled our evolution as a species and is beneficial to our mental and physical health. It can heal grief, it can build communal bonds, it taps into our childhood sense of wonder, it humbles us and makes us feel part of something larger than ourselves. He invites us to take “awe walks” by seeing the familiar with new and fresh eyes.

Keltner joins us this hour, along with Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Yumi Kendall, who shares how she experiences awe through music.

The New York Times, How a Bit of Awe Can Improve Your Health “In his book, Dr. Keltner writes that awe is critical to our well-being — just like joy, contentment‌ and love.”

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