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Awe in nature heals: Evidence from military veterans, at-risk youth, and college students

Craig L Anderson, Maria Monroy, Dacher Keltner
Emotion 2018, 18 (8): 1195-1202
29927260
The power of nature to both heal and inspire awe has been noted by many great thinkers. However, no study has examined how the impact of nature on well-being and stress-related symptoms is explained by experiences of awe. In the present investigation, we examine this process in studies of extraordinary and everyday nature experiences. In Study 1, awe experienced by military veterans and youth from underserved communities while whitewater rafting, above and beyond all the other positive emotions measured, predicted changes in well-being and stress-related symptoms one week later. In Study 2, the nature experiences that undergraduate students had during their everyday lives led to more awe, which mediated the effect of nature experience on improvements in well-being. We discuss how accounting for people's emotional experiences during outdoors activities can increase our understanding of how nature impacts people's well-being. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

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