Full of awe trumps awful any day

DSC01205 smallestLast month I visited the Grand Canyon, probably one of the most “awe-full” places on earth. The sense of grandeur that radiates there during the day is nearly matched by the millions of stars that light up the otherwise black nights. While there I felt lucky to have that respite from the truly awful news in the world – beheadings by terrorists, the spread of Ebola, fears of global unrest.

How about you? Amidst the stress and bad news in the world these days, are you looking for ways to center yourself and regain your equilibrium? Here are 5 places I turn to when seeking serenity.

Nature. If you can’t squeeze in a quick trip to the Grand Canyon or another National Park, check out your local sunrise or sunset. These scenes can be spectacular this time of year and the quiet is settling. Leaves changing color provide a backdrop of scarlet beauty with a hint of the soundless carpet of snow coming soon. The rhythm of the ocean or starkness of the desert provides its own sense of wonder.

Relationships. Connections with family and friends can serve as an anchor in times of confusion and turbulence just as the love of your life partner gives you the security to explore the world around you. Watching a baby peacefully sleeping, hearing a toddler’s belly laugh, or witnessing a child’s joy of accomplishment generates smiles and tranquility of its own.

The arts. Listening to the poignant music of a violin or hearing an evocative poem can elicit a deep emotional response and a stronger connection to the oneness of humanity. Viewing a beautiful picture or reading a story rich in its own imagery can create a tone of harmony and a bond with the stillness of the universe. Immersing yourself in a personal dance moves you toward your authentic core.

Creative Process. Following your passion often leads to experiencing “flow” or “being in the zone.” This state of peaceful yet energized focus encourages mindfulness, a non-judgmental attention to what is going on in the current moment. Both of these aspects of creativity generate a sense of peaceful involvement in the present.

Exercise. Movement may seem like an oxymoron when seeking quiet and calm but the endorphins released by exercise actually bring about an improved mood and greater feelings of well-being. You may double your sense of awe when you combine an activity like walking with enjoying the beauty of nature, sharing your jaunt with a friend, listing to soothing music on your phone, or letting your mind brainstorm new ideas.

So whenever and wherever you turn to enhance the awe in your life, you’ll find it increases your resiliency, vitality and ability to cope. And it sure does wonders for creating joy in life!

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