“Awe” is defined as “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder. Awe is often synonymous with wonder or wonderment. “Wonder” is defined as a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.” Recovery, in any of its forms, is all of these things. There is a clearly inexplicable process which can bring relief to depression, security to anxiety, healing to trauma, and an end to substance abuse. Having lived entire lifetimes with unmanageable symptoms, the transformation of recovery is unexpected and certainly unfamiliar. Yet, through the process, there is a reverential feeling with that something beautiful is happening. With a healthy sense of fear of what has been before the awe-inducing wonderment of the what is now, people live their lives in happy bewilderment at the miracle of recovery.
Cultivating awe in your life is part of making meaning, which is essential to happy and healthy long term recovery. Mindful cites, “research suggests that awe has numerous psychological benefits, including increased life satisfaction, a sense of time slowing down or standing still, and greater desire to help others.” In addition, experiencing awe regularly can improve one’s health. Recent studies have found that experiencing awe more frequently can reduce inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. “Awe may help people cope better with stress,” the article expands, “by promoting curiosity and exploration, rather than withdrawal and isolation.”
What Is Awe?
“…Awe involves feeling interconnected with others and broadening our horizons,” Mindful poetically describes. Awe is “…like a camera lens zooming out to reveal a more complex and inclusive picture. From this vantage point, everyday concerns tend to feel less overwhelming- as we get smaller, so do they.” Typically, we feel awe when we experience something greater than ourselves. We feel wonder, and a little bit of fear. Mountains, lakes, rivers, vast horizons, and nature tend to induce a feeling of awe. The miracle of birth, watching children grow, seeing healing in others, witnessing a proposal on a random afternoon- when we see life happen in all of its fullness, we are filled with awe. For this reason, the process of recovery is awe-inducing in itself. Being part of a life-saving transformation which takes the broken spirits of those who have been coping with life through the abusive use of drugs and alcohol is nothing less than a wonder. How is it that chronic addicts and alcoholics can stop drinking and using? How is it that people who have felt afflicted with great emotional pain their entire lives can find a profoundly realistic sense of peace and serenity? It is, indeed, a wonder.
Creating Awe In Recovery
A combination of gratitude and mindfulness are two of the most practical tools which could be applied to creating awe in recovery. Being mindful helps you to be aware of and notice the world around you. The more attention you pay, the more you will see. Finding and developing gratitude for that world helps you realize just how much awe there is to be had for everything from the satisfying taste of your favorite breakfast food to the gentle way a leaf falls from a tree in autumn. Drugs and alcohol create a small, specific world. Recovery opens your world up and invites you be be amazed.
Recovery is possible. Avalon Malibu invites you to call for a confidential assessment and for more information on how our transformative healing treatment programs can help you find the wonder in life again. 1 888-958-7511.