Skychology: The future of wellbeing is looking up
"I'm trying to encourage my children to appreciate things in life that are free. That make you feel good. That not everything... has to have a value that's monetary. And this happens to be something that's there every day. That for a few moments you can go 'wow, that's pretty amazing'. I don't even know how that happens... but it's happening.”
- Cielo, Skychology research participant
Skychology is a new area of wellbeing research, defined as the study of the relationship between looking at the sky and wellbeing (Conway & Hefferon, 2019). In the first study of its kind, four participants shared their experiences of looking up at the sky during in-depth, semi-structured interviews.
1. Looking at the sky is immediately calming.
2. Appears to be a highly effective form of emotional self-regulation.
3. Promotes mindfulness and feeling present in the moment.
4. Broadens perspective, connectedness and feeling part of something bigger than ourselves.
5. Appears to be an everyday window to the experience of "awe" - a complex, positive emotion we feel when encountering vast and mysterious things. Awe promotes perspective-taking, humility, creativity, prosocial behaviour, reduced inflammatory response and enhanced immune system health (Stellar, et al, 2015, Keltner, 2023).
6. Appears to negate "hedonic adaptation" (Lyubomirsky & Layous, 2013). Wellbeing activities lose effectiveness over time, as we become used to them. However, looking at the sky "never gets old", suggesting we can experience its wellbeing benefits any time, day and night, as often as we like.
These findings suggest looking up at the sky is an effective, everyday wellbeing activity, with the potential to positively impact lives all across the world.
Experience Skychology for yourself, with this guided activity: