How to Harness the Power of Everyday A.W.E.
If you could level out a negative mood, regulate volatile emotions or quiet an anxious mind in just a minute of mindfulness each day, would you do it?
No, this isn’t an infomercial.
A few years ago, psychotherapist and mindfulness expert Jake Eagle and pain management specialist Dr. Michael Amster stumbled across a potent technique they dubbed “micro-dosing on mindfulness.”
They call it the A.W.E. Method. It’s an extremely simple way to harness the power of everyday wonder. It involves focusing your attention on something of personal value or interest, pausing mindfully and connecting to a reality beyond yourself.
During the early stages of the pandemic, Eagle and Amster partnered with the University of California, Berkeley, to study the impact of the A.W.E. Method on healthcare workers and community members — practicing the technique for just 5–15 seconds, three-to-five times a day.
What they found might surprise you.
Over a three-week period, study participants experienced: fewer physical stress symptoms (including pain), lower stress, reductions in depressive and anxiety symptoms as well as greater feelings of mindfulness and well-being. In addition, participants felt reductions in loneliness and burnout.
What Is Awe?
And why is “awe” described as a self-expansive emotion?
When many of us think of awe, we think about a fleeting emotional experience involving feelings of wonder — often when we’re surrounded by the many breathtaking, picturesque creations of nature.
Think: The Grand Canyon, Victoria Falls, Mount Everest, the Great Barrier Reef, Arches National Park, Yellowstone.
Think about the words we use to describe this state: dazed, astonished, stunned, amazed, overwhelmed, speechless. The experiences are “jaw-dropping,” and we are “speechless” precisely because our senses and ability to express our feelings through language are simply not enough to fully capture our state.