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Tuesday Tip: Give Yourself a Shot of Awe

Are you feeling starved for time? Impatient?


New research shows that experiencing awe can make us feel more satisfied with our lives, more patient, more willing to help others, and — importantly, in our crazy busy lives — as though we have time to spare.

Awe is one of those quiet positive emotions we don’t tend to think much about. A flourishing life is fed by positive emotions that are global in nature, like awe and elevation and inspiration. Researchers describe it as that “feeling we get when we come across something so strikingly vast in number, scope, or complexity that it alters the way we understand the world,” as Stacey Kennelly explains in this Greater Good article about awe.

In case you missed the headline here: Awe can make you feel less pressed for time and less impatient. How cool (and ironic!) is that?

You can awe yourself with a grand landscape, or by reading about a mind-expanding theory, or by contemplating something that changes the way you think about the world. Researchers induce awe in volunteers fairly simply by showing them video clips of people facing awesome things like waterfalls and whales or by having them write about something that was vast and altered their perception of the world.

Once you find sources of inspiration and awe, connect to them regularly. If it is your church, make sure you show up on Sunday. If it is your study group, stay involved. If it is nature, schedule regular hikes. If it is a guided meditation, listen daily. You get the point.

So make time to expose yourself to something truly awesome. Visit a spectacular  beach or vista point. Watch a sunset or sunrise, or hold a new baby, or watch a nature video (like this one).

What place or experience makes you awe-struck? Share in the comments here!

Photo by Vern via flickr