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Spiritual Chills: Why You Randomly Get Goosebumps

Jan 09, 2023

If you do a quick Google search for the term, "Why do I get chills?," most of what you'll find has nothing to do with the type of chills we get most often. Isn't that funny?

I'm talking about the type of chills you get when you hear a moving song or hear someone say something profound.

For the sake of differentiation, we're going to call these spiritual chills or goosebumps. The other type is of medical origin. You already know the difference. If you have chills with a cold, you're probably running a fever.

What are spiritual chills?

Spiritual chills are the type you feel when you're emotionally moved in some way. In most cases, it's a very positive emotion.

I know I'm not alone when I say that I get goosebumps whenever I really allow myself to listen to the emotion behind Adele's voice.

But I also get chills at other times. One good example is when I have an idea that's aligned with my authentic self.

Spirituality and emotion

We're all born into this world as spiritual beings who are very much in touch with our true selves. We know nothing else.

But as life goes on, and we learn the way of the world, we lose this connection to the spirit. In place of leading with the spirit (true self), we let the ego (or false self) control our lives.

In many ways, we put up a front to protect ourselves from pain. After all, that's the ego's main purpose - to protect you from pain.

As you go through a spiritual awakening, you come to understand the ego and that it can be somewhat problematic. And it can be difficult to differentiate yourself from your ego. But spiritual chills can serve as a way to help you know when you're on the right path.

The science behind spiritual chills

I'm usually one to look to science for answers first, but the truth is that no one really knows why we get spiritual chills. Not even scientists. But if you happen to be talking to a scientist, you're going to want to call this unexplained phenomenon by its technical term, frisson (pronounced frēˈsôn). It's a French word that translates to "aesthetic chills."

What little research we have on aesthetic chill tells us that they are most definitely emotionally driven.

A study published in Psychology of Music assessed 100 college students on the
five factors of personality (Openness, Extraversion, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness), and had them listen to five music selections that commonly elicit aesthetic chills. Researchers found that the students who experienced frisson also scored high in Openness to Experience. Interestingly, the Openness personality factor is associated with Feelings.

So, the students who were more open and in-touch with feelings and emotions were more likely to experience aesthetic or spiritual chills. Makes perfect sense.

Where do spiritual chills come from?

Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, you know that these goosebumps are a good indication that you're feeling something on a deeper level. And we've just looked at a study that backs up what you already knew.

So where, exactly, are these chills coming from?

Some believe that spiritual chills are a way for angels or spirit guides to send us messages. Some believe it's your higher self (spirit outside of the human body) that's communicating with you.

And some people believe that it's nothing more than biological function.

Here's the truth...

It doesn't much matter which camp you fall into. When you get these chills, something is happening within your body. You feel it. And you know it's often linked to positive emotion. You don't need a shaman or a scientific study to tell you this.

So when you get spiritual chills or goosebumps, you're probably on the right track. What does that mean? You're directly accessing the part of you that's most genuine. Goosebumps are a visceral reaction. And it's time to start listening to your body.

How about you? Do you get spiritual chills?

There are some people who don't get them at all. In fact, research estimates that anywhere between 55 and 86 percent of people get these aesthetic chills.

Not sure if you get goosebumps? Try listening to the first 53 seconds of Air Supply’s Making Love Out of Nothing At All. It was one of the songs used to measure frisson in the above-mentioned study.

But I'm guessing you're among those who get spiritual chills or you wouldn't have landed here.

What's your experience with these goosebumps and what do they mean to you? I'd love to know!

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