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  • Ann Hollander

Giving "awesome" new meaning


Can you recall taking in a majestic view or the miracle of dewdrops on a spiderweb? That sense of awe—the magnificence of it all. In the presence of amazement and wonder, we feel connected with something much greater than ourselves. Our problems seem to shrink.


It turns out that these moments of awe have measurable physical and emotional benefits. Research shows they boost the immune system and arouse kindness and generosity. An "awe-some" life is good for us.


What makes an experience awe inspiring?

  • Vastness. Seeing, hearing, or perceiving something that takes you beyond your normal sense of what's possible.

  • Transcendence. Fully understanding and accepting this new perspective that you are both very small and part of something very grand.

Do you have to go to the Grand Canyon to experience awe?

Not at all! Wonder and amazement can be found at home. What is necessary is that you take the time to unplug and see things anew. (Leave the phone behind!) Give yourself uninterrupted time to immerse in the full experience of what you see, hear, smell, touch, feel, or even taste.

  • Take an "awe walk." Try a local park, or even your backyard. Don't go for a walk. Go for the experience. Slow down. Tune into your senses. Take in the setting each time as if it were brand new.

  • Listen to music that transports you. It's not just visuals that can inspire awe.

  • Expose yourself to art. Instead of trying to see everything in a museum or on a tour, linger with what moves you. Savor a few pieces.

  • Awe journal. Recall past events when you were awestruck. Sights, sounds, smells, feelings. Relive the experience as you write.

According to the research, measurable benefits can be found by consciously opening yourself to awe twice a week.


Have you been feeling detached?

In trying times, it's easy to feel alone and isolated. This is not good for your body or your psyche. Nor for your ability to care for your loved one. As the North Shore and Chicago experts in family caregiving, we at Options for Aging have found that simple moments of marvel can often help a family caregiver rekindle the spark they need to keep on caring. You don't have to do this alone. Give us a call at 847-868-1445.

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