• Alexa de los Reyes

A prescription for the February slog: Awe

As we slog through another pandemic-y February, how are your self-care strategies holding up? At this point you might have a handy list of mood-balancing practices -- get fresh air, put down the phone, talk to a friend, do some movement, drink water, eat with intention -- and yet ... maybe some new tools would be welcome?

One strategy that I use to counteract the pervasive thrum of anxiety and exhaustion is to summon a sense of "awe" (this is backed by research!). Although spectacular natural settings are probably most common for generating awe (like the glorious sparkly winter forest pictured above), awe can be conjured up in any number of ways: experiencing magnificent music, art, or poetry; witnessing an incredible feat; or simply by bringing awareness and curiosity to the familiar and mundane.

By setting out with the intention to experience awe in your day, it will happen. Put on your lenses of "wonder" and take a closer look at the clothes you're wearing, the furniture you're sitting on, the food you're eating, not to mention the device you're peering into right now -- all marvels of creativity, innovation, and logistics! What a time to be alive.

If that mindset doesn't feel accessible right now, try recalling a time when you felt awe in the past. A visit somewhere magical, the first time hearing your favorite song, a day when everything seemed to fall into place... See how many sensory details you can conjure up -- how does your chest feel? What's the expression on your face? Slow your breathing, let the feeling linger as long as possible and permeate through your body. Make it an escape, and enjoy the many mood-lifting, perspective-shifting, benefits!

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