“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than one seeks.”
This season to get outdoors and return to travel reminds me of the power of nature to inspire us. I’ve often experienced it personally when walking around town – but especially from memorable moments like this hike in Montana’s Glacier Park.
This theme is explored in Dacher Keltner’s 2023 book “Awe, The New Science.” Aside from well recognized physical and mental health benefits, he explores the science behind the feelings. Awe can be a powerful force for enjoying our surroundings and our well-being.
You can find out more about the BOOK here. But to summarize his findings, I’ll use my own AWE acronym for Attention, Wonder, Enthusiasm.
Attention means being fully present in the environment around us. This is using all our senses to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. To become fully immersed in the experience.
Wonder means a sense of amazement at the beauty and complexity of the natural world. Being in nature reminds us of the interconnectedness of all things. When confronted with the scale of the world around, we get a renewed sense of perspective.
Enthusiasm captures Keltner’s surprising finding that the benefits of such experiences increase dramatically as we age. Spending time in nature can help us tap into a lost childlike sense of curiosity. And for aging individuals to restore a sense of meaning for our natural legacy.
Research has shown that experiencing awe can have a range of positive effects on our mental and physical health, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, and enhancing creativity.
For a practical summary and reference to an interesting Study, check out: “A Guide to Awe Walks” And that can even include an APP to use!
Walking in nature is not just a pleasant pastime. Whether on a Montana mountain trail or in your community, it can be an AWE inspiring Attention-Wonder-Enthusiastic experience.
In appreciation, John Contact: me directly at JohnR.Hedrick@gmail.com