Returning to my desk after eating lunch, I checked the time. About 15 minutes remained on my break. While I could have just jumped back into work tasks, I chose not to, knowing that I’d be more productive if I took a wonder break first. I clicked on a sound bath video online, closed my eyes, and savored the music of crystal bowls. As their relaxing tones washed over me, stress flowed out of my mind. Then time seemed to stand still. Fully immersed in the present moment, I felt transcendent peace. It was as if the musical harmony sang to my soul, filling me with awe.
Afterward, I worked through the afternoon with plenty of energy. I was so rejuvenated by my encounter with wonder that I even volunteered to help with an extra project. My sense of time had expanded, so I’d gained the confidence to be generous with it.
Research shows that experiencing awe can increase people’s sense of the time available to them. As awestruck people perceive time differently, time seems to slow down for them, which decreases their stress and increases their well-being. That expanded sense of time inspires people to be more willing to give of their time. While encountering wonder on my break from work, I experienced those same results.
Arianna Huffington writes in her article “This Moment is Our Opportunity to Change Our Relationship with Time” that the current coronavirus pandemic is an opportunity to “remake our relationship with time — so that we are in control of our time, not the other way around.” She points out the value of using the extra time in our schedules now to notice and enjoy wonder. Living in a hurry can rob of us of “our ability to experience wonder, our sense of delight in the mysteries of the universe, as well as the everyday occurrences and small miracles that fill our lives.”
We don’t need to settle for occasional glimpses of awe that happen to break through our shells of stress. We don’t have to let the demands of our daily tasks limit our experiences of wonder. We can encounter anytime and anywhere – despite the stress we’re facing – if we make time to look for it. In order to prioritize awe in our schedules, we must be willing to overcome excuses for pursuing it. Pursuing wonder is not a luxury reserved for special occasions. Wonder is essential to our well-being on a regular basis. No matter how busy we are, we can – and should – make time to pursue wonder.
Ultimately, it won’t matter if we’ve cleared our email inboxes or caught up on our laundry. Scheduling time for wonder, however, can make a lasting positive influence on our souls. Making time for awe is vital every day, since it helps us see the greater meaning behind our activities.
We won’t notice the awe-inspiring experiences waiting for us if we remain constantly distracted by busyness. So, let’s slow down time and relieve stress by pursuing wonder every day!