This world is full of situations that can trigger worry – falling ill, losing a job, navigating conflict in a relationship, and much more. Yet you can develop the strength within you to overcome worrying about the stressful circumstances around you. Pursuing wonder can prevent your life from shrinking down to the level of circumstances that make you feel anxious. When you encounter wonder and feel awe, you gain a greater perspective on your circumstances that can empower you to overcome anxiety. Here’s how wonder can help you overcome worry:
Wonder Can Shift Your Perspective
Discovering and enjoying the wonder around you lifts your perspective beyond your concerns to the positive possibilities that exist for you. Wonder can help you stop worrying about what scares you and start hoping and working for the best in your circumstances.
Worry can’t actually prevent anything negative from happening in your life. Worry can’t accomplish anything positive for you, either. So, it’s completely useless to worry, and worrying drains valuable time and energy.
Rather than worrying when you feel afraid, choose to pursue wonder instead. Do something that sparks awe in your soul. Go outside to stargaze, take a wonder walk, pray or meditate, laugh with a loved one, enjoy music, savor a meal, etc. The possibilities for experiencing wonder are endless. The key is to intentionally search for wonder. By moving forward toward wonder with purpose, you’re training your mind to become more aware of it.
When you find wonder, your state of mind will rise above worry as your perspective shifts. Wonder can push worry away, according to research. A study from the University of California – Riverside found that a sense of wonder can relieve the worry of waiting for uncertain news. Participants in that study had to wait to learn about test results that worried them: their IQ scores, and ratings on how their peers perceived them. The group who experienced a sense of wonder from watching an awe-inspiring video of a sunrise with music showed significantly less anxiety and more positive emotions than the other participants did.
Wonder can relieve your fears. If you’re willing to intentionally pursue wonder despite feeling afraid of what might happen, you’ll discover feelings of awe that will enlarge your perspective and help you find hope.
Wonder Can Inspire You to Find Peace
Encountering wonder can inspire you to find peace through spiritual practices that are meaningful for you. People from a diverse variety of faith backgrounds connect wonder with peace. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 59 percent of Americans say they feel a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being at least once per week, while 46 percent report feeling a deep sense of wonder about the universe at least weekly.
Two especially helpful practices for overcoming worry are also helpful for discovering wonder: prayer and meditation. Research shows that both prayer and meditation can reduce anxiety and help people experience awe.
Whenever someone or something triggers worry in you, choose to pray or meditate about that worrisome thought instead of wallowing in it. Intentionally release the anxiety you feel and pray for the help you need to navigate your circumstances well. A huge variety of different ways to pray or meditate is possible. One method that works well to incorporate into a busy schedule is saying “breath prayers” (praying a word or short phrase that you can express in the time it takes you to breathe in and out once). Breath prayers can help you find peace quickly.
Wonder inspires you to look beyond your circumstances to a greater source of hope – and as you do, you’ll gain a sense of peace that will eclipse your worries.
Worry isn’t worth your time and energy. You can stop worrying and start enjoying peace by searching for the wonder around you. Once you start the habit of pursuing wonder, you’ll discover it – along with the strength to help you overcome worry.
This post was written by Whitney Hopler and originated on Thrive Global.