5 Ways to Increase the Wonder in Your Life
"Awe is a response to things you don't have a mental template for," says psychologist Michelle Shiota. "You have a mental template for getting up in the morning, drinking your coffee, and driving to work, but not for listening to a piece of music you haven't heard before or sightseeing in Thailand."
2. Go Outside
Nature is the ultimate source of awe. "Just being outside can conjure up feelings of wonder and give you perspective," says psychologist Dacher Keltner. "Or better yet, plan a hike or a camping trip in a spot that's known for its vast spaces or natural beauty."
Spending time in large groups, whether at rock concerts or political rallies, often stirs feelings of awe. "Ecstatic social experiences have a way of lining everybody up emotionally, and that's very powerful," says Keltner.
4. Turn Your Gaze Upward
Whether you're checking out Mars Rover images at NASA.gov or just looking for constellations in the backyard, "if there's anything that illuminates just how much we still don't know about the universe, it's looking up at the nighttime sky," says Shiota.
5. Find a Daily Dose of Inspiration
Maria Popova, known by her Twitter followers as @Brainpicker, posts a stream of awe-inspiring images on her feed: slow-mo footage of a lightning strike, a sunset seen from space, sculptures carved into a pencil point. "I want people to stop a second and go, 'How amazing is that,'" she says.
- The science behind the health-boosting effects of awe
- 6 steps to get your creativity flowing
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From the December 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.