I’m starting a new journey here – it’s called: Wonder Wednesday. My hope is that it gets us thinking – or even better, wondering – about ourselves and life in general.
wonder (verb) –
There was a study done by Paul Piff at the University of California in which researchers performed different experiments to investigate the various aspects of awe. Some were to measure how predisposed the participants were to awe, others to elicit it. As the last experiment, they placed them within an area of tall eucalyptus trees, so as to induce awe. Afterwards, they had the participants engage in activities to measure behaviors deemed as “prosocial” which are behaviors that are “positive, helpful, and intended to promote social acceptance and friendship.” In all experiments, awe was associated with these behaviors.
In another, Jennifer E. Stellar found that people who experienced a sense of awe on a regular basis had a tendency for less inflammation in their bodies – something that has been correlated with disease and cancer. By testing the cheek swabs of 200 volunteers and having them fill out a questionnaire which asked about the various negative and positive emotions they had experienced in the last month, Stellar found that those who reported feeling more positive emotions – namely awe – had less inflammation markers than the others. In other words, awe may contribute to better health and wellbeing.
I’ve always had a fascination with children and their ability to wonder. To imagine entire worlds of possibilities with no shred of doubt or judgment. Children naturally seem to live in a state of awe. Life is fun and magical and everything in between. Thanks to all of the perceptibly never-ending responsibilities and duties, it’s an ability that most of us adults tend to be too grounded to do anymore – not that it’s a bad thing to be grounded, we absolutely need to be in order to survive in this chaotic world. BUT balance, balance, balance, my friends!
“Seven to eleven is a huge chunk of life, full of dulling and forgetting. It is fabled that we slowly lose the gift of speech with animals, that birds no longer visit our windowsills to converse. As our eyes grow accustomed to sight they armor themselves against wonder.” – Leonard Cohen
I feel we could all benefit from beginning to embody the limitless curiosity of a child, ripe with imagination and wonder. Taking a short moment to shift our perceptions and get reacquainted with this space within that has been there since we ourselves were children.
So, as the first Wonder Wednesday, and in honor of awe, I ask:
What experiences elicit a sense of awe for you? Are you willing to seek those out more often?
I invite you to let me know in the comments below! 🙂
PS – Sorry so late on this! I know it’s almost Thursday. The idea came to me as I was getting ready for sleep. Next Wednesday will be a much earlier post!