Finding a Sense of Awe

When is the last time you felt a sense of awe? Research shows that feeling awe regularly promotes well being and health, enduring personal change, and fosters social connectedness, humility, and a more balanced view of self. Awe provides us with a sense of wonder, of recognizing that we are a small part of something much bigger than ourselves. 

This feeling of being a part of something helps us value leaning in and connecting with others, and the world. 

If you couldn’t think about the last time you felt a sense of awe, and the thought that came to mind was about not having time to go on a trip, or do something extravagant, I have good news. While yes, new experiences are often sources of awe (as awe is about novelty and vastness), awe is often more about perspective than it is about the specific event happening.

When we allow ourselves to be curious and open-minded, we ask more questions and in turn, we begin to see and look for possibility, beauty, and opportunity. 

As we try to increase our experiences of awe, we have many ways to do so as long as we are being present. Even as our world is feeling “different” and we can’t connect with large groups presently, there are ways to still find these moments:

  • Nature is a great source of awe, recognizing the vastness of the earth in a great view, the colors of a sunset, or simply paying attention to things you don’t usually stop to notice, such as different types of plants, bugs, or animals.
  • You can find awe through the eyes of your children, or through driving home with the windows down, or listening to music with a trusted partner or friend. 

Awe is often closely followed by gratitude, and something that can continue both the felt sense of awe, and intensify feelings of gratitude, is to write down what you’re grateful for and why. The act of recording our awe, gratitude, and the reasoning behind it can help us call on those positive feelings in other more mundane or difficult moments in life.

So, the question stands—when is the last time you felt a sense of awe? How can you experience awe today?

Written by: Courtney Hintermeyer