Green Care 101: Ever Try AWE Walking?
Updated: Jul 1, 2022
Awe: inspires feelings of boundless wonderment
Finding something to Awe about while walking in Nature,
Does your Body and Brain good!
Awe Walking promotes health, it feels good and is 100% free!
I say YES! to cheap and accessible medicine with no adverse side effects!
And who doesn't relish a daily dose of respite that takes you to the beach, forest, river, park, or garden?
Research from UC San Francisco Memory and Aging Center and the Global Brain Health Institute found older adults who took weekly 15min Awe Walks for 8 wks:
Experienced increased focus on their surroundings vs. themselves
Had measurably broader smiles by the end of the study
Experienced wonder and appreciation for the details of the world around them
Heightened sense of exploration and expansion
Increased joy and connectedness
Awakened sense of childlike curiosity
Virginia Sturm, Ph.D., a John Douglas French Alzheimer's Foundation, Endowed Professor in the UCSF Weill Institute for Neuroscience, helped develop this idea of inducing Awe as an intervention for the study:
"I find it remarkable that the simplest intervention in the world — just a three-minute conversation at the beginning of the study suggesting that participants practice feeling awe on their weekly walks — was able to drive significant shifts in their daily emotional experience," Sturm said.
The study shows how shifting our mindset on a walk is an inexpensive way to improve mental and emotional health for older adults.
All ages can benefit from enjoying an Awesome Walk!
Tips for Awe Walking:
Set an Intention to be present to the wonders around you
Heighten your awareness of the sights, smells, and sounds of Nature
Walk as though you are kissing the Earth with your feet, Thich Nhat Hanh
Discover something you have not noticed before- spend a few moments gazing into a tree, at a bird, or surrounding landscape
Express Gratitude! Vocalize three New things you are thankful for-deepening Connection
May You Enjoy an AWEsome Walk!