We may be slowly returning to our offices (more or less), but the strains of the pandemic are hardly over. As we enter a transitional stage after a year of trauma and strain, more than ever we need ways to refresh our energies, calm our anxieties, and nurse our well-being. One potentially powerful intervention is rarely talked about in the workplace: The cultivation of experiences of awe. Like gratitude and curiosity, awe can leave us feeling inspired and energized. It’s another tool in your toolkit and it’s now attracting increased attention due to more rigorous research.
As a physician and a psychologist, we have facilitated hundreds of resilience and well-being workshops both before and during Covid for the military, physicians, educators, law enforcement, and in the business world. Helping participants to explore, experience, and recall moments of awe is one of the key scientifically supported strategies we engage in during our workshops and it’s been rewarding to see our participants benefit and bring what they’ve learned to their own organizations.
Awe and Its Benefits
University of Michigan psychologist Ethan Kross defines awe as “the wonder we feel when we encounter something powerful that we can’t easily explain.” Often the things which bring us awe have an element of vastness and complexity. Think of a starry night sky, an act of great kindness, or the beauty of something small and intricate. During your workday the colors of the leaves outside your office or an act of sacrifice by a colleague could prompt a similar feeling — especially if you are attuned to it. In the United States and China especially, experiences of awe are frequently related to the virtuous behavior of others: an act of dedication, skill, or courage.
Read the full article at Harvard Business Review.