Healthy Holiday Mindset: Finding Awe

November 14, 2022

two people looking at star filled sky
When my 17-year-old came home from a recent trip to Fort Davis, he told me about a moment he had while stargazing. He said that looking at the night sky filled with millions of stars was so intense that he felt dizzy, small and overwhelmed. He also shared that this was one of the BEST moments of his trip. What my son was perfectly describing was the feeling of awe.

There is a growing body of research that shows that having the feeling of awe can be good for your health. During the holidays, when stress levels are high, taking some time to explore and search for awe everyday may help lower your stress and connect to your loved ones.

Awe is a feeling of deep respect, admiration and fear, in response to something grand, awesome, and very powerful.

You may have remembered experiencing this feeling yourself while:

  • swimming in the ocean,
  • stargazing,
  • listening to music or looking at art,
  • watching a child take their first steps, or
  • touring historic buildings, like our state’s Capitol.

“Research has repeatedly found that experiencing something extraordinary may make us (and our worries) feel small. And not in a bad way,” said Richard Sima in his recent Washington Post article on this topic.

During the 2022 Virtual Wellness Fair, Kristen Huff J.D. shared that for her, finding awe in nature is an easy way to feel grateful, especially on days when feeling grateful may be difficult. She said that by simply going out on an awe-walk in her neighborhood she can find something that will create the feeling of awe -- an old tree, a flower, a bee, a child riding a bicycle. Awe is easy for us to feel if we are paying attention to what is happening around us.

During the holidays this year, I hope you can take some opportunities to find awe in your everyday experiences.

Learn more about awe through the AWE-some recorded version of our Morning Check-in with Kristen Huff, J.D. from October 21.