Why sunsets are good for you

Exploding colour in the sky is more than just a pretty end to the day.

I can’t get enough of sunsets. Wet season skies with their luxurious clouds can deliver some incredible shows. The clouds refract the colour, making the evening glow in shades of pink, orange and purple, and you’ll often find me on the deck, transfixed by the spectacle.

I was recently in Palm Cove where I was lucky enough to see this beauty, sadly, sans my DSLR. Sitting on the sand until the last of the colour had drained (along with my blood, thanks to the mozzies) life felt a little better than before.

Psychologists would say that this is because of awe, and awe is good for you. It’s research that innately makes a lot of sense: it’s not a stretch to think that a sense of wonderment could improve your life in some way. I’m pretty happy to be justified for more sunsets on the deck.

Looking back on my experiences, it’s clear to me that awe is a key part of why I seek out time in nature. I remember on my first pack walk on the Routeburn Track in New Zealand, standing halfway to Harris Saddle, looking back down the valley and feeling overwhelmingly small in a big, amazing world. I’ve struggled to find the right description of that feeling but in hindsight, awe fits perfectly. It’s a moment that has stayed with me all these years later.

Science hasn’t unravelled everything about awe yet, but it doesn’t really matter. Awe could be a clinical remedy for the wearying effects of life, or it could just be a nice moment in your day. Either way, go grab yourself a sunset and enjoy.

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