Take a minute to think about moments when you were truly awestruck. Perhaps it was the first moment you held your child in your arms, or a vista that literally took your breath away. Amid the height of the covid-19 pandemic, I tried this exercise myself and found my mood immediately lifted by the mere memory of places and events in my life that left me in awe.
In fact, my experience is confirmed by research that suggests awe can make us happier and healthier. According to one study, people with a greater tendency to experience awe had lower levels of interleukin-6, which is a marker of inflammation and increases the risk for a number of chronic diseases.
Allowing ourselves the opportunity to experience awe—whether in real time or by evoking memories of awe-inspiring moments—can help us disrupt negative thoughts and bring us to a place of positive mindfulness. That is why many people who meditate regularly have a particular image or aroma that evokes pleasant feelings and brings them to a place of calmness and serenity.
For me, I merely have to think of the magnificent beauty of our retreat property in Indian Point, Maine and I can immediately be transported to the smell of fresh pine trees and waters that sparkle like diamonds.
This has been a challenging year for all of us. Treat yourself to the opportunity to relax, recharge and realize all the power that meditation and mindfulness can bring to your life.