Day 20 – Awe

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”

Marcus Aurelius

Happynesshub Hint Twenty


Turn off your phone, tap into your child-like sense of wonder, and take an amble in a place that makes you feel connected to something that is bigger and greater than the individual you. If it is somewhere more familiar, then take a stroll ‘with different eyes’. A sunset, the shore, a lake, or a tree-lined trail. It could even be as simple as staring at the stars on a clear night, or peering up (instead of ahead) in an area dense with buildings; anything that takes you out of your usual mindset so you experience a connection with something greater.

The Day 20 Film – Sally

Welcome to our Day 20 Happynesshub Hint Film with our very own Sally here to explain more about today’s exercise and fill you in on the nuts and bolts of how to get the most out of the day.

Welcome to our Day 20 Movement and Meditation Video, which features gentle breathing, stretching and meditation. If you have any health concerns, please consult your GP first. If you have a yoga mat that is helpful, otherwise please do not practise on a slippery surface.

If you would prefer to follow a shorter breathing and / or meditation film (with no stretching) please click here. Or if you want an audio meditation only, choose how long you have, then click and go!

Have you ever worried incessantly about something small and then three months later looked back, wondered why, and thought, what a waste of all that worry? If not, you are lucky! But if you are like me, a worrier, and prone to fixating on smaller things that just don’t warrant all that energy and angst, an awe walk could well come in handy.

One holiday, after a particularly difficult period, I was taking a simple stroll along the beach, and stopped, looked out to sea, and just felt this simple sense of ‘awe’. It was almost as if all my worries melted away as I stared at this space that was greater than me. It wasn’t an emotion I had particularly focused on before. Yes, I remember visiting the Grand Canyon in my twenties and thinking ‘wow’, and the Colosseum in Rome and thinking ‘how’, but I’d not really stopped, absorbed, and pondered on these experiences.

Then recently I read a number of studies researching this fascinating emotion.

Awe can be invoked by things like nature, beauty, man-made wonders, or good will; for some it could be a piece of dance, art or music. Awe is something that can stop us from focusing (or even obsessing) on our personal concerns, by inspiring us and reminding us that we are part of something larger than ourselves.

Dr Dacher Keltner and Jonathan Haidt, pioneers in this area of research, define awe as an emotion “in the upper reaches of pleasure and on the boundary of fear,” and conclude, “Awe can transform people and reorient their lives, goals, and values. Awe-inducing events may be one of the fastest and most powerful methods of personal change and growth.” Further research shows that this experience of vastness expands our perception of time, increases patience, reduces stress levels and in turn leads to increased well-being and life-satisfaction.

Researcher, Melanie Rudd, suggests that people should evoke more feelings of awe in their lives by exposing themselves to nature, art, and music. “Put yourself in situations where you’re experiencing new things,” she says. If you can’t go for an awe walk, you could always create a sense of awe by visualising an awesome scene, re-living a memory, or reading a story. All of these approaches have been proven to have a positive affect. But if you can get out for your ‘awe walk’ please do; and remember to recall that magical sense of wonder.

Have an awe-some (in the true sense of the word) day!

Please click here for further research on Awe.