Updated: Dec 25, 2020
What does the word Awe mean? A basic dictionary definition of AWE is: a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder. I never really thought about the word until I had the opportunity to read Allen Klein's latest book titled: The AWE Factor.
Allen Klein, a prolific writer, is also known as Mr. Jollytologist. Allen has written 15 books and teaches audiences how to use humor to to deal with changes, challenges and stressful situations. I started reading The AWE Factor without really knowing what I would find, how it would make me feel or how it would change my life.
The book is a thoughtful compilation of stories from others about their AWE moments. These stories provide an opportunity for us to experience their AWE moments. As I read the book, I was so inspired by the stories inside that I am keeping a copy of the book by my bedside. I randomly select an AWE story to read before bed to help quiet my mind and help me reflect on my day or a memory that means a lot to me. Sometimes, I even read a story from the book in the morning, before meditating. The AWE Factor can be used as a daily reminder of AWE.
The book lays out simple steps to recognize more AWE moments in your life. But first, the book defines AWE because I bet you are just like me and never really thought about it until you decided to read this article. Turns out AWE is a scientifically studied emotion. The science of AWE is relatively new, it started about 2003, almost 18 years ago. (Source: UC Berkeley)
There are numerous benefits to making time for AWE. Here are the health and mental health benefits from AWE as shared from The Greater Good Science Center:
Awe may improve your mood and make you more satisfied with your life
Awe may be good for your health through reduced inflammation, a marker for chronic diseases
Awe may help you think more critically
Awe may decrease materialism
Awe makes you feel smaller and more humble
Awe can make you feel like you have more time
Awe can make you more generous and cooperative
Awe can make you feel more connected to other people and humanity
The health benefits of practicing AWE regularly clearly demonstrate an improvement in our overall health. Many clients I work with are under a great deal of stress. When we experience high levels of stress, we are more likely to develop chronic health conditions such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Depression to name a few. Practicing AWE will give me a new tool to help clients reduce stress and become more satisfied with their lives.
With all of the great health benefits of practicing AWE, we could all use a little more AWE in our lives! Especially with the trying times of living through a pandemic, being cut-off from our families and loved ones, having feelings of loneliness and lack of connection. The AWE Factor is a great reminder that even during trying times, we can seek out the AWE in our daily lives.
When I read The AWE Factor, I learned that I am not paying attention to the AWE moments in my life. I've forgotten how to reflect on my world and the AWE moments in it. This seems like it should be an easy exercise but with the distractions of today (who is reading this on their mobile? Hands up: 🙌) it is a lot harder than you think. Our focus has shifted to portraying that perfect social media image (even when things aren't) or gawking at someone else's social feed wishing our life was like that. We don't always reflect reality in the ways we interact with others, digitally or in person.
This lack of wonder in my life made me a little sad. After all, as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Health Coach, I practice mindfulness, meditation and journaling. These are practices I recommend and coach my clients to make time for regularly. I've made progress in my life with these practices. But I felt like the book reminded me that the childlike wonderment that I experienced many years ago is missing. AWE is something I need to work on bringing back into my life.
Another lesson I learned is I haven't shared my AWE moments with those who mean the most to me. My dad probably has no idea how AWE inspiring he was when he took me golfing, gave me some tips on a chip shot and it went into the cup! Sure, we celebrated in the moment but I never really told him how awesome that moment was for me and it is one of my favorite memories of him.
For me, the AWE Factor reminded me of the small awe moments that occur in daily life. Don't get me wrong, there are wonderful stories of really big AWE moments in the book. Such as the story about a chance encounter with a giant sea turtle in the Galapagos who became a tour guide and led the snorkeler to a field of marine iguanas feeding on algae. Or the story of the woman who recovered from a bedridden illness who found a new place to live that was a lot bigger but than her little apartment. Yet the landlord only charged her a couple of hundred dollars more.
The steps to recognize more AWE in our lives are familiar and not far-reaching. They are accessible to every reader. They can be practiced daily. I often find the magic in books such as The AWE Factor, is they remind us how to put what really matters back into perspective. Will you have an AWE inspiring moment soon after reading this book? Maybe or maybe not. But if you don't try, how will you know?
The AWE Factor can be purchased by clicking here.
Will you read The AWE Factor? Let me know in the comments below.
Hey, I'm Heather!
When I was 9 years old, I was put on my first diet. That started a lifelong struggle with food, my body and my emotions.
I became a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and a Certified Health Coach because I am passionate about teaching others how to achieve their wellness goals. I've overcome weight fluctuations, high blood pressure, hypothyroid disease and limiting beliefs about my life. I started Heather's Health Habits to promote natural healing and educate others about important health matters.