We already know that moving your body helps to reduce stress and improve your emotional well-being. And we’re all pretty familiar with the idea that moving your body outdoors increases those positive benefits. Now new research suggests that adding a third element to your outdoor time can dramatically reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
That element is AWE.
Recent studies have shown that a regular dose of awe reduces your stress and boosts your mental health.
Awe is defined as the feeling of respect and amazement that you have when you are faced with something wonderful. It’s the feeling of smallness you experience when you stand before something vastly bigger than you or when something reminds you of how small you are in terms of the entire world.
When you’re in an awe state, you’re engaged with the expansiveness of the external world and less focused on yourself, which takes your mind off your own burdens, worries, and frustrations.
Getting outside is a simple way to connect back to that feeling of awe. Whether you’re experiencing the magnitude & vastness of our natural world or you’re observing the small, intricate things that make the outdoors beautiful, nature has a way of allowing us to quickly get into an awe state.
Here are 3 steps to connect to your awe the next time you’re outdoors:
- Attention: Turn your full and undivided attention on things you appreciate, value, or find amazing.
- Wait: Slow down and pause.
- Exhale and Expand: Amplify whatever emotions you are experiencing.
Experiencing awe can be a simple practice. You can tune into your awe on both big and small outdoor adventures. By just taking the time to slow down and fully appreciate the world around you, you can have an incredible impact on your well-being and health.
A marketing consultant and leadership coach, Nailah never thought of herself as an outdoorsy person. But when she found herself dealing with the stresses of building a new business, being a new mother, and living in a new state away from all her family and friends, she and her husband started exploring local trails. It was an epiphany. The outdoors helped her slow down, listen to her heart, and reconnect with her passion.