3 min read

‘Awe Walks’ Improve Well-being: Walk in Nature with AYA Walk

‘Awe Walks’ Improve Well-being: Walk in Nature with AYA Walk

Awe-filled Experiences Are Healthy


Have you stopped to take in the beauty of a sunset, smiled at the joyful innocence of a child or been moved by the notes of a song you heard? When caught by the beauty and splendor of a place or a moment, you experience awe, and studies show that awe is good for you.



"Awe is beneficial for health and well-being" (Monroy, et al., 2023).


Women walking


"Awe is beneficial for health and well-being" (Monroy, et al., 2023). Research has shown that allowing ourselves to experience a sense of awe because of something we have seen, heard or experienced takes us out of ourselves and helps us feel less stress, anxiety and depression. When we can alleviate stress, it has a positive effect. It can include a variety of benefits, including a stronger immune system, less inflammation, better mental clarity and focus and overall well-being. Even brief experiences of feeling awe can have a positive impact on both mental and physical health.  

Researchers identify awe as the feeling that may be "experienced through encounters with other people's courage and kindness, nature, collective gatherings (dance, rituals and ceremonies), music, visual art, religious and spiritual practice, epiphanies, and birth and death" (Monroy, et al., 2023). These types of experiences contribute to other positive emotions and attitudes. It helps us to think about things other than the worries and anxieties that often fill our daily lives, and the ability to dwell less on negatives helps improve our overall well-being.

One study has identified five distinct ways that awe benefits physical and mental health:

  1. Neurophysiological effects (increases in brain chemicals and nerve responses, reduced inflammation)
  2. Transformed sense of self (less self-absorption and negative self-image)
  3. Prosociality (focusing on helping others)
  4. Stronger social networks (feeling more connected to others and the world)
  5. Elevated sense of meaning (having a sense of purpose and making connections and developing strong values)

Monroy & Keltner, D., Awe as a Pathway to Mental and Physical Health, 2023

Awe-filled Experience in Nature Improves Health

Interestingly, the research shows that awe-filled experiences in nature have been shown to result in a lowered tendency to ruminate on negative experiences and a reduction of stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in individuals who were exhibiting those symptoms (Monroy, et al., 2023). Nature is strongly associated with at least four areas contributing to improved health and well-being: improved air quality, increased physical activity, increased social interaction and reduced stress (Hartig, Mitchell, de Vries, & Frumkin, 2014).

A study with 60 older adults who went on a weekly 15-minute outdoor walk for eight weeks showed that those who experienced awe during their walk reported increased positive emotions and desire to help others and decreased daily distress (Sturm, et al., 2022). The "awe walks" showed the potential to have significant positive effects on mental and physical well-being.


Going for a walk with an AYA partner on your favorite nature trail is a fabulous way to increase your experience of awe.



AYA Walk Helps You Have Your Own Awe Walk


Going for a walk with an AYA partner on your favorite nature trail is a fabulous way to increase your experience of awe. You will have the benefits of the awe-filled experience of walking in nature, and you will have the ability to be awed by the stories, words, prayers and songs you unlock in AYA as you walk. Learning about Chickasaw culture, history and heritage will fill you with awe of the unconquered and unconquerable Chickasaw people.

If you are not an AYA user, download the app and start walking with us today. If you are already an AYA user, be sure you are getting the most out of your fitness journey with us by using all the features in the app. You can find out about all AYA’s features and answer questions about how the app works by visiting AYAWalk.com.

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated with the latest additions and features on the app and exciting challenges within the AYA community. Be part of a growing network of individuals dedicated to their fitness journey and exploring Chickasaw culture.

Make your fitness journey more successful by walking every day with AYA.

Anowa chipisala'cho (until we meet again),

Your AYA Team





  • Hartig, T., Mitchell, R., de Vries, S., & Frumkin, H. (2014). Nature and Health. Annual Review of Public Health, 35, 207-228. doi:https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032013-182443
  • Monroy, M., & Keltner, D. (2023). Awe as a Pathway to Mental and Physical Health. Perspectives on psychological science: a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, 18(2), 309-320. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/17456916221094856
  • Monroy, M., Ugurlu,, O., Zerwas, F., Corona, R., Keltner, D., Eagle, J., & Amster, M. (2023). The influences of daily experiences of awe on stress, somatic health, and well-being: a longitudinal study during COVID-19. Scientific reports, 13(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-35200-w
  • Sturm, V. E., Datta, S., Roy, A. R., Sible, I. J., Kosik, E. L., Veziris, C. R., . . . Keltner, D. (2022, Aug). Big Smile, Small Self: Awe Walks Promote Prosocial Positive Emotions in Older Adults. Emotion, 22(5), 1044-1058. doi: 10.1037/emo0000876.


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