Last week I read an article by a performance psychologist Noa Kageyama talking about “awe walks” to help with stress, burning out, or anxiety. I found it interesting, so I thought to share it with you, especially at this time of long-term pandemic fatigue.
What is it?
He said that awe walks are different from normal walks, defining awe as “a positive emotion that people feel when they are in the presence of something vast that they cannot immediately understand”. Despite the grandeur of this definition he emphasizes that we can have this ‘awe’ as something we can experience in our daily lives.
Go for a walk alone with your phone on airplane mode at least for 15 minutes. Try to walk somewhere new each time to tap into your sense of wonder. If you find something interesting, stop and pay attention, enjoying the novelty of the action and approaching what you see with fresh eyes, imagining that you’re seeing it for the first time. Take a moment on each walk to take in the vastness of things, for example looking at a panoramic view or up close at the detail of a leaf or flower. Then the article suggests to take three pictures of yourself during the walk:
1. A picture of you before the walk
2. A picture of you during the walk
3. A picture of you after the walk
4. And: one picture of the most awe-inspiring thing you saw on the walk.
As a musician I find that I feel a sense of 'awe’ from making music all the time. When I first feel a beautiful change of harmony in one section of a piece of music or when I listen and experience music like Beethoven’s 9th symphony. I love walking, so these awe walks have been part of my life for years. However, it was my first time to learn about the action of documenting these moments by taking pictures. In my experience from last week I find that it indeed seems to help me to pause for a moment and savour the moment. These emotions are so abstract that we can’t really measure them, though I think that every little attempt adds to one’s wellbeing. 😉
Try to go on awe walks this week. Take your time, enjoy what you see, appreciate a sense of belonging in this world by recognizing the vastness of nature. If you don’t find anything, I recommend to look up at the sky. I bet that you will feel better by trying to remove yourself from your thoughts and tapping into the world around you. Please share your experience with me!