#03 Awe Walk

Several studies have shown that the feeling of wonderment has the capacity of raising us higher and to make us drift away from our routine, by connecting us with something greater and bigger.

#03 WHAT IS AN AWE WALK?

An « awe walk » aims to create wonderment and foster inspiration through a simple walk, by adopting a curious and new attitude and eyes about the environment surrounding us.

The idea is to transform walks of about 15 minutes several times per week into experiences raising admiration and magic.

This walk can be done anywhere but only two elements cement the access to wonderment: an open landscape and an aspect of newness. These can be found all along a path in nature, but also in the heart of the city, whether it is in a park or an open viewpoint.

It seems that wonderment comes easier in a new space, reason why we love discovering new places so much, for example through trips. Nonetheless, there are some familiar places that also exude magic that even routine does not seem to be able to wear off.

Hence, it is not the place so much that counts, but the state of mind with which you will be doing this walk.

THE EFFECTS OF AN AWE WALK

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Several studies have shown that the feeling of wonderment has the capacity of raising us higher and to make us drift away from our routine, by connecting us with something greater and bigger, that brings us meaning.

Researchers have demonstrated that practicing an “awe walk” can lead to the following effects:

  • Generate a feeling of being connected with our environment

  • Ease our negative thoughts by diverting our attention from our daily problems

  • Develop our sense of well-being thanks to movements and walking

  • Becoming more generous and mindful with others by developing compassion and gratitude

  • Allowing us to focus less on ourselves and our ego.

Furthermore, it would appear that telling or remembering this wonderment moments is particularly useful when faced with daily events that challenge and strain our well-being, as is the case at present now with the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainties that we live with nowadays.

A very recent study (2020) has shown that a group of 8 older people that had practiced “awe walks” for a duration of 8 weeks had noticed beneficial effects on their wellness and development of positive emotions, as well as reduced daily stress.

HOW TO PRACTICE AN AWE WALK?

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The practice of an « awe walk” starts by turning your phone off (or any other gadget that might be steering you apart from the present moment, including any music). It would even be best to not bring your phone with you at all, in order to avoid any temptations…

Settle yourself into a state of mind of looking around you with an interested eye and try to look around you as if for the first time.

Be mindful of your surroundings, to scents, sounds, scenery, lights. Bring your gaze around widely, but also bring your attention to the details.  Practice mindful breathing by inhaling and exhaling 5 times, slowly and deeply, by way of feeling the sensations of your steps on the ground where you are walking. Repeat as long as necessary.

TO DIVE DEEPER

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Recommended Readings:

The details of the recent study on this “awe walk” practice

https://neurosciencenews.com/awe-walk-emotional-wellbeing-17063/

Download this week’s meditation on the “Awe Walk” (or Walking Meditation)

Listen to the Walking Meditation