Living with Wonder
The following post was featured on Orange and Gray last week! Elisa currently has a lovely series on happiness going down.
A few years ago, I came across a quote that would change the way I approach life. “Indifference to the sublime wonder of living is the root of all sin.” It was written by a rabbi that barely escaped the Holocaust, Abraham Joshua Heschel. This quote was the beginning of my obsession with wonder.
That’s right, I’m obsessed with wonder. Wonder is defined as “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.” In other words, it’s the attitude of complete surprise you see on a child’s face the first time they learn about caterpillars and butterflies. You need it in your life. Trust me.
You might be thinking, this sounds good but seriously, how am I supposed to create this in my life? You don’t create wonder. You enter into it. Here are four things you can do to increase wonder and help you live in the moment. Test them. Let me know how they work for you.
- Slow Down– Instead of rushing around from task to task, take the time to observe the world around you. Listen to the sounds, notice the way light filters through leaves, take note of architecture and nature.
- Do Only Thing at a Time– That’s right only one. Multitasking is a myth. Scientists have discovered that your brain can only focus on one thing at a time and attempts to “multitask” are only switching quickly between ideas which reduces focus and productivity.
- Journal– You do you. If this means journaling daily, go for it. If it means instagraming your moments of wonder, do it. If it means keeping a note file on your phone of every interesting moment (which I do) you should absolutely do it. Journaling teaches you to become aware; and awareness is the remedy to anxiety, boredom, and just about everything. It’s the duct tape of the mental world.
- Savor- Did you know that negative thoughts stick in your brain like Velcro? Did you know that scientists now say you have to savor each happy thought for roughly 10 seconds for it to embed itself as deeply as a negative thought? THIS IS HUGE. This explains why it is so easy to be caught up in the things Negative Nancy said last year. Yet, we have to really focus to remember the good thing you heard, or the way your child says certain words, or the way the light fell the last time you had coffee with your love. (Side note: if you are in a long distance relationship this is key!)
Test this! The next time you spend the morning drinking coffee or tea, become aware of every detail. Focus on one thing at a time. Write it down. Savor it. You will find that it embeds itself on your memory and it is so much easier to find yourself focusing on happy moments instead of negative ones. Welcome to your glorious life. Wonder has taught me that even the most depressing of days can be full of shimmering light and small acts of kindness.