Rudd, M., Vohs, K.D., & Aaker, J. (2012) Awe Expands People’s Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-BeingPsychological Science, 23 (10), 1130-1136

Awe is “a response to things perceived as vast and overwhelming that alters the way you understand the world.” In several different studies, the authors determined that a feeling of awe expands one’s sense of time, giving the sense that there is more time available.  As a result of this, study participants’ experienced less impatience and an increased willingness to be generous with their time by volunteering.  In addition, the resulting feeling of having more time available led study participants to elect to have experiences (such as attending a music concert) over material goods (a watch). Click here for a link to the article.

Stellar, J.E., Piff, P.K., Gordon, A., Anderson, C.L., McNeil, G.D., Keltner, D.  (2018) Awe and Humility.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 114 (2), 258-269.

When people experience awe, that is a feeling of vastness, of being part of something greater than themselves, they are subsequently more humble.  The authors define humility as a diminished sense of self, one where a person has a more realistic accurate view of themselves and acknowledges the value and contributions of others.  The authors conducted five studies that resulted in their conclusion that awe promotes humility.  An awe experience not only caused people to report that they felt more humble, but it also resulted in their peers perceiving them as more humble.  They concluded that awe, the opposite of pride which inflates self-concept, shifts self-perception and a person sees themselves more accurately and appreciates the value of others more.


Emmons, R. A., & Stern, R. (2013) Gratitude as a Psychotherapeutic Intervention. Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session. 69 (8), 846-855.

There are many benefits that the practice of gratitude can have on a person’s life.  Feelings of gratitude stem from an awareness of the good things in one’s life and the recognition that this goodness comes from sources outside of oneself.  When a person feels gratitude over time, it improves physical health (lowering blood pressure and improving immune function), boosts happiness and well-being, and promotes prosocial behavior (acts of kindness and generosity).  It also mitigates risk for depression, anxiety and substance abuse.  Given that gratitude can be cultivated through specific journaling and mindfulness practices, the authors conclude that it is an effective psychotherapy treatment that promotes healing and well-being.

Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions. American Psychologist60(5), 410.

 Researchers tested out five “positive interventions” and their affect on individual happiness.  One intervention asked study participants to write a letter of gratitude to someone who had been kind to them, but whom they had never thanked.  They were then asked to deliver the letter in person.  Participants saw a large increase in feelings of happiness immediately after delivering the letter.  Elevated feelings of happiness lasted for about a month after delivering the letter suggesting that this practice should be repeated on a regular basis.


Mahembe B., Engelbrecht, A.S.  (2014) The Relationship Between Servant Leadership, Organisational Citizenship Behaviour and Team EffectivenessSouth African Journal of Industrial Psychology.  40 (1) 1-10.

This study, done in schools, determined that there is a positive relationship between servant leadership, organizational citizenship behavior and team effectiveness.  Servant leaders lead from their values and view the development of their team as their top priority, rather than focusing on the leader’s own or the organization’s goals.  Many who work for servant leaders feel empowered at work and report a positive work environment.  The result of this work environment is increased team effectiveness which is measured by the attainment of common goals with higher results.  Organizations lead by servant leaders also saw an increase in organizational citizenship which consists of a variety of dimensions including altruism, conscientiousness, sportsmanship, courtesy and civic virtue.


Pendse, M., Ruikar, S. (2013) The Relation between Happiness, Resilience and Quality of Work Life and Effectiveness of a Web-Based Intervention at WorkplaceJournal of Psychosocial Research, 8 (2), 189-197.

True happiness is an ongoing human quest.  The authors’ review of prior research confirmed that feelings of happiness are associated with better outcomes in work and life, with increased success.  A small study, conducted in India, demonstrated that happiness is positively correlated with quality of work life and resilience, with resilience defined as being prepared to face stress at work. They conclude that “organizations can benefit by enhancing employee happiness through simple, web-based interventions” and that “happy employees would make happy organizations.”

Social Connection

Seppala, E., Rossomando, T., & Doty, J. R. (2013) Social Connection and Compassion: Important Predictors of Health and Well-being. Journal of Social Research, 80 (2), 411-431

This literature review discusses the clearly established links between social connection, compassion and well-being in all branches of psychology.   Social connection, that is close relationships with others, is a basic human need throughout the lifespan.  Humans benefit most from social connection with certain affective (emotional) qualities such as empathy, intimacy, and close contact.  As social connection increases well-being, this in turn results in a host of benefits including positive emotions, better self-esteem, and seeing others in a more positive light.  It is also associated with prosocial activity such as volunteerism and doing good for others. Social connection buffers against life “stressors” and it helps with emotional regulation.  The authors perceive social connection is declining in the world. To mitigate this, they suggest that social connection should be cultivated through compassion-building practices such as loving kindness meditations.