When was the last time something left you speechless – but in a good way? Has an experience ever made you feel overwhelmed, impressed or flushed with a slew of positive emotions that, perhaps, took your breath away? Letting yourself exist in a state of awe for a little while can benefit your wellbeing and act as a stress reliever. This Monday, try to bring something truly awesome into your life.
People experience awe from all kinds of things: Some may discover delight in an image from space or a night sky full of stars, while others may revel in the vastness conveyed in a picture of the ocean. No matter where we find it, awe is something that helps us step back and gain perspective on our place in the world. As research shows, experiencing awe can momentarily take us out of our own heads and make us feel small.
Feeling small, in this case, is a positive emotion. Smallness prevents us from falling into a self-absorbed trap in which we are the centers of our own universe, a feeling that may cause a great deal of stress. Awe helps us shrink our sense of self, serving as a reminder that we are not alone. When we marvel at a work of art or nature scene, it’s an experience that can be shared with others while taking our heads out of our individual, stressful situations.
To find awe this Monday, take a moment to recall something that truly impressed you. It could be something that taps into any of your senses, like an outstanding piece of music, work of literature, delicious meal or a stunning photograph. If it’s possible, make it convenient to access a memory of the experience at any time of the day, maybe turning the memory into your desktop image or phone background, or making a playlist of your top awe-inspiring songs.
Maybe it’s time to discover a new source of awe. Exploring a hiking trail, checking out the planetarium or walking a new route might help inspire a renewed sense of wonder and relief. Consider booking a daytrip to experience the very awesome world out there.
[excerpt from DeStress Monday]