Reasons to be cheerful – How to make life more awesome

You’re hard-wired for negativity. We all are. Keeping an eye open for the bad stuff helped humans survive in ancient times, but the naturally-negative outlook we’ve evolved isn’t so helpful these days, when we live relatively safe and comfortable lives. If there isn’t a sabre toothed tiger outside your cave waiting to bite your head off, why worry?

That’s why we like to focus our weekly newsletters on positivity, on stories that make us feel good, on the news that reveals the world is actually a magical place. Positivity takes various forms but at the top end of the scale there’s awe, and it looks like being awe-struck has some amazing benefits to the way we feel about life. So we thought we’d go look at the science.

What is awe?

Awe is the feeling we get when we see something so vast and amazing it transcends ordinary life, a feeling that blends sheer amazement with an edge of fear. Sometimes it’s so powerful it can dissolve our sense of self. And that, as we’re about to discover, is a very good thing for our wellbeing.

Scientists have been using fMRI scans to see what happens in the brain when we’re awestruck. It looks like awe changes the brain’s default mode network, which creates our sense of ‘self’. This can make us better people; more ethical, more generous, more connected to others, more tranquil and altruistic, creative and curious. Awe makes us feel happier and less stressed, and the effect can last for weeks. It makes our internal monologue go quiet. Medically speaking, awe reduces the cytokines that inflame our bodies - and it even chills out our instinctive ‘fight or flight’ response.

When do we feel awe?

You might feel awe when you look up at the night sky full of stars and realise how tiny you are, and how vast the universe is. A mind-blowing view brings us to a state of awe: the landscape seen from the top of a mountain, the dizzying view from a cliff, the lovely blue marble of earth viewed from outer space.

Music can be awesome too. You know that feeling when a certain tune gives you goose pimples? If you have a profound love of colour, a certain blend of colours and patterns can blow your mind. Grand buildings might do it for you, like the extraordinary high rise towers of Singapore and Dubai. So can something as simple as an unusually large tree, a particularly glorious sunset, or a huge expanse of glittering, sunlit sand at low tide. The skill of an act on Britain’s Got Talent might be so awesome it literally brings tears to your eyes.

How to feel more awe

So how do we bring more awe into our lives on an everyday basis, and experience the beautiful feelings it brings? Simply looking at videos of our planet brings awe, which might explain why so many of us adore Sir David Attenborough’s epic TV series. In fact research shows we can all enjoy useful low-level awe daily, simply by thinking about the things that make us feel awe-inspired, then building those thoughts and mental images into our everyday lives.

Look awesome!

And what do you wear to encourage these gorgeous feelings of awe? We wear the clothes that make us feel happy. Our exciting alternative fashions are beautifully made with love and care using quality fabrics, embellished and decorated by skilled people in exotic places. Now and again we get a new item through from our suppliers - and we literally gasp out loud at how gorgeous it is. That’s awe.

We hope you love our alternative fashions as much as we do, and we wish you awe in every aspect of your life. Life is, after all, a magical thing, so let’s celebrate it.

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