Regular "awesome" experiences may also improve our mental health and make us nicer, claim experts.
The findings raise the prospect of "awe therapy" to overcome the effects of fast-paced modern life.
Awe is the emotion felt when encountering something so overwhelming it alters one's mental perspective. Examples might include seeing the Grand Canyon or the Northern Lights, or becoming lost in a dazzling display of stars.
The research found that by fixing the mind to the present, awe seems to slow down perceived time and made people feel they had more time to spare. This led them to be more patient, less materialistic, and more willing to help others.
The scientists, from Stanford University in California, said: "A small dose of awe gave participants a momentary boost in life satisfaction. Thus, these results also have implications for how people spend their time, and underscore the importance and promise of cultivating awe in everyday life."