A Prescription for a Dose of Awe



Jet Garner, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is among two dozen UC Berkeley student veterans whose psychological and physiological response to the awesomeness of big nature is being studied as part of a multi-year UC Berkeley research project.

For full story, visit: http://news.berkeley.edu/2016/05/31/awevswar/

Led by Craig Anderson, a Berkeley doctoral student in psychology, the study is focused on changes observed in war veterans and, separately, in more than 90 inner-city Bay Area middle and high school students during and after one-or two-day whitewater rafting trips along the North Fork American River near Sacramento.

Anderson launched the study in 2014 and hopes to raise enough funding to continue it and follow up with participants over months and even years.

Preliminary results of the study suggest that nature-inspired curiosity can trigger positive feelings and ease symptoms of PTSD in the most wary and withdrawn personalities.

Just one week after their rafting trips, for example, veterans reported a 30 percent decrease in PTSD symptoms. And both veterans and teens who had reported feeling a greater sense of awe during their rafting excursion later noted they got on better with friends and family.

Video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Stephen McNally

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