Ah spring! Or, more aptly, you could say, “Awe spring!”
Spring gives us so many opportunities to experience awe, yes? You open a window and linger in that soft breeze caressing your skin. You plant icicle pansies and feel your heart explode to see bright colour where there was none. You sip coffee outside and feast on the busyness, hue and birdsong of blue jays, cardinals and robins.
According to Psychology Today, “The research reveals that experiencing awe can reduce stress, quiet our inner critic, and inspire us to act more altruistically toward the people around us.” An article in The Guardian says, “A 2021 study argued that experiencing awe ‘awakens self-transcendence’, helping people get close to their ‘authentic’ selves.”
The feeling of awe is a paradox. “You’re humbled by the spaciousness and your smallness,” says a Forbes article on the topic, “yet at the same time you feel bigger than life.”
Awe can be found in the spectacular - the Grand Canyon say, or the Rocky Mountains - but also in the mundane. Due to its benefits, it’s important to attempt to find it daily, regardless of the season, like a child, big eyes marvelling at that shiny pink rock on the ground.
So, besides delighting in springtime, my favourite season because of the promise it holds, how can you experience more awe in your life?
As noted above, awe is easily found in nature, either in outdoor activities, or if the weather is too prohibitive, by watching nature programs. (I do this when I’m sick, or overwhelmed by world news. There’s just something about watching those colourful birds doing their crazy mating dances that lifts my spirits.)
Observing people with unique abilities - athletes, musicians, dancers - is another way. And also, learning a new concept, for instance playing a musical instrument. I’m currently learning guitar, it’s something I’ve always been interested in, but unfortunately I find it’s better for my brain, as in creating new neural pathways, than for my ears. Ouch!
You could ask others what makes them feel awe. You could also document day-to-day beauty - writing things down helps you experience things a second time. The experts say that when you do feel awe, stay with it, give it time to wash over all your senses. In this way you’ll probably attract more awe more often into your life.
You could also acknowledge the massive amounts of awe you get from your Jazzercise class! According to Eleanor Morgan, in a piece from The Guardian, “Several studies have shown that people are more generous and cooperative after moving in unison with others. This might be doing a group exercise or dance class, singing in a choir, being in a crowd at a concert or sporting event, or even running or walking with a friend.”
Coming to class checks off yet another box on the awe list: seek out new music. We change up the music all the time!
Continue to enjoy the awesomeness of spring. And keep coming to class to enjoy the awesomeness of how it feels to move your body in unison with others to tunes you may (or may not have!) heard before.