Getting goosebumps is more beneficial than you think

By Stacey Marquis • Published: November 3rd, 2015
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

When was the last time you were so amazed by something that it stopped you in your tracks?

If you can’t remember, it might be a good idea to stop and smell the roses more often. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley published a study in January about the impact of emotions on the human body, and the results were surprising.

They surveyed college freshmen about how often they feel emotions such as hostility, enthusiasm and inspiration in a month.

After gathering the survey data, they took samples of the students’ saliva to measure the levels of a chemical called interleukin-6 (in-ter-loo-kin six), which is an indicator of inflammation and poor health.

The students who had high levels of interleukin-6 experienced negative emotions more frequently than those who didn’t, and they had higher levels of inflammation in their bodies.

Afterward, the researchers surveyed more students about their experience with positive emotions, such as joy, contentment and awe. The students who often experienced these emotions had lower levels of interleukin-6, which was expected. But one emotion stood out: awe.

Students who reported feeling awestruck frequently had the lowest levels of interleukin-six and the lowest levels of inflammation. The students in the study reported feeling awestruck three to four times a week, on average.

But isn’t feeling of being awestruck subjective? How do you know if you are awestruck? As a rule of thumb the feeling must pass the “goosebumps test.” For example, if hearing a song you love gives you goosebumps, you were awestruck.

So go discover what amazes you. Maybe it’s a trip to the theater, a walk in the park or a stroll through a museum. As long as you are filled with wonder about the world, you’ll be doing your mind and body a favor.