Memorable Moments of Awe, and Why We Need Them

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Can you remember the last time you were completely awestruck by something? Be it a sea of stars in the night sky, the panoramic view from a mountaintop, or the soft, green scent of the woods in summertime, awe-inspiring moments are certainly few and far between. Besides their rarity, they are also nearly impossible to describe—how do you put into words something that overwhelms yet pacifies your senses? And it turns out that these experiences are not only pleasing to the senses, they are also healthy for the mind and body.

A recent study tested the hypothesis that that “awe can alter time perception.” Participants in the study “unscrambled sentences, watched commercials (with large, striking images), and answered questions about personal beliefs in order to create a perceived time availability index…In addition to confirming the expansion of time, the study shows that awe can ease impatience and actually make you more willing to volunteer time in the name of others. People also begin to prefer an actual experience over a material good. And just in case that wasn’t good enough, an awesome moment can increase your overall satisfaction and happiness in life” (The Atlantic).

So, how do we go about experiencing these awe-inspiring moments? Sometimes they happen by chance, for which you simply have to wait with painstaking patience. Other times though, you can seek them out. For example, the Iris Inn is located in a breathtaking setting. We overlook the Shenandoah Valley, and we are close by to some of the most beautiful areas in Virginia (in our opinion, anyway). If you need one of these moments of awe, let the Iris Inn be the catalyst for your experience.

Photo by Alvesgaspar (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Alvesgaspar)