It's easy to get caught up in the practicalities of everyday life, but cultivating a sense of awe or wonder is important, too. It improves your mental health and helps you maintain a more generous perspective. Here are some ways to add more wonder to your life.
Take Care of the Basics
Many people have a lot on their minds most of the time. In order to even make room for wonder, you may first have to ensure that your basic needs are covered. You can free up space in your mind by developing solid baseline habits:
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Regardless of when you go to bed or wake up, consistency is the key to getting all the rest you need.
- Exercise regularly. Train your body so that you have the energy to pursue whatever opportunities for wonder come your way.
- Eat foods that make you feel good. Learn to pay attention to what your body needs so that you can eat intuitively without having to obsess over the details. As an added bonus, savoring your food can enhance your sense of awe.
Take Mindful Walks
Introducing yourself to novel stimuli is a great way to add more wonder to your life. If you are already taking walks during your breaks at work or at specific times of the day when you're home, consider changing routes occasionally. Walk down different streets and explore the whole neighborhood. Pay attention to all the new things you see.
Awe walks are especially important as you age, particularly if you are retired and thus no longer have the built-in social network that comes with being at work every day. Finding a new place to boost your senses may help you maintain your curiosity and remain in the present moment more easily, but you can still cultivate wonder in familiar surroundings. Pay attention to the way the sun or breeze feels on your skin, say hello to other people you pass, or simply notice what your dog is doing. Allow yourself to experience as many stimuli around you as possible.
Spend Time With Children
Adults who have children in their lives often give a lot of thought to how to teach them to grow up kind, thoughtful and well-adjusted. There are also a lot of things you can learn from being around children, though. Children seem to understand wonder intuitively. They get excited about fun outings and new experiences. They have very strong opinions on the smell and taste of food. Their attention to the stimuli around them tends to be more acute than that of adults. Spending time with children is a good way for some of that wonder to rub off on you.
Seek Out New Experiences
One of the primary benefits of traveling to another country, particularly one with a culture that is significantly different from your own, is that you get to temporarily immerse yourself in another way of life. It's almost like being a kid again.
Of course, you don't have to visit a whole other country to experience new things. Spend an afternoon at the museum discovering its latest art exhibit. Try the new restaurant down the block, particularly if it's a cuisine you aren't familiar with. Read a book in a genre you usually pass by or one written by an author who seems to live a different lifestyle than you do or has opinions you don't share. There are many relatively small and budget-friendly ways to get your novelty fix and keep your mind actively engaged.
A sense of wonder is a vital component of your well-being. By incorporating a few small habits into your life, you can enjoy all its benefits.