Awe Slows Down Time, Boosts Life Satisfaction: Study

Think back to your last jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring moment -- was it gazing across vast stretches of ocean, or into the deep voids of a canyon?

A new study in the journal Psychological Science shows that those feelings of awe seem to slow down time and boost feelings of life satisfaction.

"...Awe offset the feeling that time is limited, which increased willingness to volunteer time, accentuated preferences for experiential goods, and lifted satisfaction with life," the researchers, from Stanford University and the University of Minnesota, wrote in the study.

The study included three experiments. In the first, which included 63 students, researchers found that study participants were more likely to report feeling like they had plenty of time when they watched a video of awe-inspiring scenes, compared with a video of happy scenes.

In the two other experiments, LiveScience reported that study participants were asked to recall times in their lives that elicited awe, or times in their lives that elicited happiness or neutral feelings. LiveScience reported the results:

The participants cued to recall awe reported feeling less impatient and more willing to spend time helping others. There was no difference between joy and awe for how willing people were to give money to charity, however, suggesting that the effect is focused specifically on time rather than more generally on warm-and-fuzzy feelings.

Recently, another study in the journal Psychological Science shed light on another thing that could help us feel like we have more time -- volunteering.

That study, conducted by researchers from Yale and Harvard universities and the University of Pennsylvania, showed that when people volunteer their time, it makes them feel more efficient, and therefore less stressed and hurried.