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Discovering Awe and Wonder

I love to model the ideas I offer my clients in ways they can nourish their wellbeing. One of the ways I have discovered that refreshes and energises me is to go for a regular hike.

I recently joined a walking group and we walked the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory. It was one of the most awe inspiring hikes I've been on. It was hard at times, lots of climbing and by the 5th day I was admittedly starting to feel tired in all parts of my body.

At the beginning of the trail head on the 6th day, a little Willy Wagtail flew in to greet us, she was affectionately referred to as "Betty" and she encouraged us so much with her beauty and courage to come close to us, she demonstrated a wonderful trust in the unknown. Alongside prayer and grit, she helped me to keep going and finish the week of walking. She brought up in my heart, feelings of awe and delight in how God has created such beauty in nature for us to enjoy!

The feeling of awe is important for everyone for several reasons, as it has significant psychological, emotional, and social effects on individuals. Here are some of the key reasons why the experience of awe is considered so valuable:

  1. Enhanced Well-Being: Awe-inspiring experiences have been linked to increased feelings of happiness, joy, and life satisfaction. When individuals encounter something vast, beautiful, or overwhelming, it can elevate their mood and improve their overall sense of well-being.

  2. Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Awe has the power to shift the focus away from personal concerns and problems, helping individuals gain perspective and reduce stress and anxiety. It allows people to step out of their routine thought patterns and experience something beyond themselves, providing a sense of relief from daily worries.

  3. Increased Creativity and Curiosity: Awe can inspire creativity and spark curiosity. Experiencing something awe-inspiring can lead to new ideas, innovative thinking, and a greater desire to explore and learn.

  4. Enhanced Sense of Connection: Awe often leads to a sense of interconnectedness with others, nature, or the universe. It can foster feelings of unity and communal belonging, encouraging a sense of care and compassion for others.

  5. Positive Changes in Behaviour: Experiencing awe has been associated with pro-social behaviours, such as increased generosity, empathy, and cooperation. It can promote altruism and a willingness to help others.

  6. Broadened Perspective: Awe can broaden an individual's perspective and challenge their preconceptions about the world. It encourages a more open-minded and flexible approach to understanding life's complexities.

  7. Spiritual and Transcendent Experiences: For some, the feeling of awe can be deeply spiritual or transcendental, connecting them to a sense of meaning, purpose, and something greater than themselves.

  8. Physical Health Benefits: Some research suggests that experiencing awe may have positive effects on physical health, such as reduced inflammation and improved immune system function.

  9. Motivation for Conservation: Awe for nature and the environment can motivate individuals to take actions to protect and preserve the natural world.

Overall, the feeling of awe is a powerful and transformative emotion that can enrich people's lives in various ways. Whether it's through encounters with nature, art, or remarkable human achievements, cultivating opportunities for awe can have a profound impact on personal growth, relationships, and the overall quality of life.

What are some ways you experience awe in your life?

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