For Less Stress Get Yourself A Daily Awe-Some’ness Dose
Why you want to cultivate your sense of wonder and awe
When you become aware of some little wonder-full things or something larger than yourself your mental chatter and worries shrink and you experience higher levels of overall life satisfaction and well-being.
How often do you roll your eyes if some teen is saying for the fifth time, within two sentences, without breathing in between: Aaaawesome!
You know, I mean, you know what I mean. All this aaaawesome’ness around us!
But, let’s face it, this is actually great. Because if we are in awe, we feel better, have less stress, and contribute to our well-being overall. You have to agree, that is fri*n awesome!
Do You Want Less Stress? Be In Awe!
Research suggests that awe can actively help reduce stress. And as a result of that awe has a positive influence on our sense of life satisfaction.
Experiencing awe can put your daily feeling of stress into perspective at the moment, which then has the effect of increasing your well-being.
Participants in the study who took in an awe-inspiring view at the top of a 200-foot tower reported reduced levels of daily stress and felt less upset about every day worries. Standing in a desert (or elsewhere) at night and looking at a starry night sky, looking down at a huge, majestic canyon are all awe-inducing experiences that showed positive effects on stress levels.
It turned out that the effect of awe on reduced stress can be explained by an appreciation and overwhelming emotion we experience being in or seeing vastness.
You don’t have to travel to the desert or climb a mountain for experiencing a sense of wonder and awe. There are many little things and situations in daily life that can bring you a sense of awe.
Be Aware Of Being In Awe
When are we in awe?
Awe is partly about focusing on the world outside of your head and rediscovering the “wonder-full” things that are out there and that are not you. It is the feeling of being in the presence of something vast that goes way beyond your understanding of the world.
We also experience a sense of awe when we observe the incredible and virtuous behavior of others when they perform an act of dedication, skill, or courage.
Or, one of the ways to experience awe is in the simple act of witnessing the kindness of others.
I was in awe about an act of kindness that was so unexpected. Weeks ago I was running to catch the streetcar (tram) and a teenager (!) saw me racing, and he kept standing in the door to keep it open until I reached it and could jump in. I hope my heartful thanks showed him how awesome’ly surprised I was.
Paying attention is a good tool to practice awe and to install a sense of wonder. Like children. Children can get lost in what they do and dive into a world of wonder.
We are too distracted these days and not paying attention is the enemy of awe. It interferes with our focus, which is essential for achieving awe.
We can cultivate awe through interest and curiosity. Awesome!
How To Induce Some Sense Of Wonder Into Daily Life
There are many ways to experience awe, many of which we unconsciously do and just be more conscious of it so we create those energizing, positive moments more often.
One of the most reliable ways to experience awe research had found is in the simple act of witnessing the goodness and kindness of others. Studies show we start feeling better and are also more likely to perform good deeds when in awe seeing others doing it.
Take an “awe walk” (I can barely believe it, but this is becoming “a thing”). Take twenty minutes to walk, go, wander around and be curious and observe the everyday beauty around you, notice little things.
After taking a walk and paying attention to small things they usually rush by, people (in a test group) reported feeling calmer, inspired, motivated, and better able to focus.
Especially when taking a walk in nature as opposed to urban walks it has a greater positive impact on our mood and well-being. Personally, I can attest to that. I take daily walks in nature, observing animals, plants, field workers, and wood formations and it always makes me feel good or better, and I return motivated, refreshed, and in good spirits back to my desk.
We often just think of a piece or just the thing in front of us instead of the bigger picture. But once we think about the context, about what are the connecting dots, and how it was created, we experience awe.
If you want less stress, and to feel better and happier, give yourself a daily dose of awe and wonder.