Written by therapist Ruth Nathaniel

When was the last time you felt curious, excited by something you’d recently discovered, or felt the renewed sense of wonder? For many of us, wonder took its last breath sometime ago, and we’ve been dragging our feet ever since. Maybe you entered a season of intense study, work, or parenthood. Perhaps, a significant part of your life came to an end and you don’t know what’s next; things feel like they are at a standstill. Renewing your sense of wonder is possible, even in difficult seasons of life, so let’s dive in and explore what it might mean for you.

Defining Wonder For Yourself

The definition of wonder varies from person to person. Generally speaking, it is the awe that wells up when you feel present and connected to the world. Pretty ambiguous right? To help define what wonder is to you, take a moment and close your eyes. What is a memory that evokes strong emotion in you? It doesn’t necessarily need to be an overwhelmingly happy memory either. For example, a memory of quietly floating in the lake feeling nearly weightless, or staring up at a mountain range before a hike, or playing with your niece or nephew and hearing their laughter can all include wonder. Now, let’s identify some components of that memory. What emotions came up? Was there joy, a sense of feeling small, or something else? 

Incorporating Wonder Into Everyday Life

Chasing a feeling is never advised, but being mindful of wonder can help drive some of your decision making. To begin, explore your daily life as it is presently. What makes up most of your time? Often this is our jobs or class schedules. Ask yourself, what am I doing this role for? Am I building up my knowledge base, reaching financial goals, etc.? Sometimes we forget exactly why we do what we do, and pausing to clarify and re-define this commitment can make way for wonder. 

Next, consider what more opportunities for wonder would realistically look like in your life. Some affordable and time-conscious options are reading fiction books from the library, tapping into your creativity through art, spending time outside with your feet in the grass, or even feeling the water droplets on your skin the next time it rains. Wonder pops up at all sorts of times, and it is about being fully present in the moment. 

Being Present To Experience Wonder

Our bodies are always in the present, even when our minds and hearts wander to the past or future. Rarely are we always aligned in the present moment. A great exercise to practice being present is to use all 5 of your senses to ground yourself through the day. For example, the next time you are taking a coffee break during the work day, run through your senses to take stock of what is actually happening in the moment. Look at the rich color of the beans, feel the warmth of your cup, listen to the whistle of the kettle, smell the coffee, and taste the flavor notes in your beverage. You might be surprised by the results of that practice, and begin to experience wonder in seemingly mundane activities. 

Wonder is what you make of it, and viewing life through the lens of awe and curiosity can refresh your sense of purpose and existence. Give yourself some time to experience wonder this week, and you may make some exciting discoveries about your life and what really matters to you. If you’re interested in being guided through a more mindful life, I’d love to meet you and hear your story. Give us a call about setting up an appointment today!

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