Why Inviting More Awe into Your Life Elevates Your Satisfaction Level
I love this quote by Albert Einstein on inviting more awe into your life,“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle. The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science.”
A breathtaking sunset, a dramatic lightning storm, the birth of a baby human or animal…all of these things inspire a feeling deep within us that fills us with wonder and reverence. This sense of awe connects us with something greater than ourselves. It stops us in our tracks and makes us feel small in a good way, as we experience something beyond the norm of our everyday life. It’s a moment that lifts us above ourselves and lets us experience something spiritually. That’s why inviting more awe into your life is so important.
Marcus Aurelius expressed the act of experiencing more awe in your life so well:
“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
Awe-inspired humility is good for us as it lessens our selfish tendencies like entitlement and arrogance. It makes us see the vastness of an experience, and in so doing, we realize that we’re all a part of a bigger picture. It makes us want to be more connected with others.
According to one study, among other benefits, “inducing awe led participants to present a more balanced view of their strengths and weaknesses to others.” And it makes us more open to helping others. Awe inspires altruism, according to Professor Paul Piff of UC Irvine.
Awe is a powerful and under-appreciated emotion that offers tremendous benefits to our health, happiness and social interactions. A study on how awe in nature helps heal military veterans shows the power of awe for lowering stress and improving well-being. Another study shows that experiencing awe lowers inflammatory responses in the immune system.
Experiencing awe helps us look at our life and surroundings in a new light. Like the practice of mindfulness, awe opens our mind to being observant and non-judgmental, still and attentive.That moment gives us the sense that time is expanded; like you have all the time in the world.
Moments of awe automatically trigger physiological changes that soothe and relax the body and mind — we breathe deeper and slower, we straighten our spine and relax tensed muscles.
Some studies suggest that awe sharpens our brains. One study found that after people experienced awe, they were more analytical and less persuaded by weak arguments. It certainly increases our curiosity, desire to explore new possibilities and creativity!
Inviting More Awe into Your Life
We can develop our ability to experience awe more intensely. As W.B. Yeats said, “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” Make a conscious choice to go outdoors, turn off your devices, and get in touch with nature again. Sleep under the stars. Lean in and watch an ant. Ponder why leaves change color in the fall. Read awe-inspiring stories. Notice the awesome things humanity performs. See and appreciate the awe-inspiring things happening around you every day. You’ll find that it lifts the blues and inspires hope like nothing else can do.
According to Professor Michelle Shiota, a leading researcher in the field of awe, “How often you experience awe depends on your mindset: how open you are to the novel and unexpected in your environment; whether you choose to seek out extraordinary experiences; how much you attend to the wonder and beauty present in everyday life. These all help create moments of seeing the world as a beautiful and amazing place.”
When you’re inviting more awe into your life, don’t forget to look inwardly for the awesomeness of YOU. If you join us for our 3rd annual Bring Forth the Leader Within retreat, we’ll help you explore your innate abilities to create (a product of awe) the life of your dreams in the awe-inspiring location of Blue Spirit in Costa Rica. Dream your big dreams and create a rough draft of what you want to accomplish with your life. We’ll help you refine it, get past the rough patches, and finally achieve it!