“Awe may be one of the fastest and most powerful methods of personal change and growth…”
– Dacher Keltner PhD.
What is The A.W.E. Method?
Being in amazing natural places evokes a sense of timelessness, aliveness, expansiveness, and presence. Our physiology relaxes and our minds quiet down. We may experience physical sensations such as goosebumps, smiles, deep inhalations, and wide eyes.
Imagine what life would be like if we could have that same awe experience countless times a day while doing our regular activities. Bringing a quality of presence, ease, and expansiveness the most mundane activities like showering or cooking a meal.
We’ve developed a specific process for discovering awe in the ordinary—a practice that we call the A.W.E. Method. The “A” stands for Attention, “W” stands for Wait, and “E” stands for Exhale and Expand. The beauty of this method is that you can do it anywhere, and it requires only a little bit of time—5 to 25 seconds.
The A.W.E. Method involves pausing, fully taking in and appreciating what you are sensing with your sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, and imagination. As you become more present by learning to “microdose mindfulness”, you can experience awe while listening to music, watching a movie, cuddling with your cat, or waiting for a red light to turn green. You can find awe in almost any moment.
The Benefits of Awe for Self and Society
Over the past 20 years, the predominant focus of awe research has been on extraordinary experiences of awe. Some examples include looking over the rim of the Grand Canyon or listening to a perfectly performed symphony. These studies were valuable in creating a foundational understanding of the benefits of awe: enhanced physical health, improved quality of relationships, increased desire to help others, and feelings of connectedness.
The A.W.E. Method is different. We are showing people how to access awe in the ordinary moments of our lives. Our model has been clinically tested and proven. Our patients reported decreased chronic pain, less acute pain flare-ups, decreased anxiety and depression, more connection to others, and greater happiness, gratitude, and generosity. We are currently collaborating with UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center researching the effectiveness of the A.W.E. Method in two large intervention studies with hundreds of primary patients, hospital staff, and healthcare providers on the frontlines treating COVID-19.
We believe that we have created something significant—a mindfulness practice done in microdoses throughout the day, that fosters awe, wakes us up, brings us into the present, and opens our hearts. And it only takes seconds a day to change your life in this profound way. Discovering awe in the ordinary is accessible to you all the time, even when you feel too busy to pause for just 30 seconds. All you need do is intentionally focus your attention, wait long enough to fill yourself with the moment, then exhale and expand into awe.
This practice enhances our sense of well-being, and it could solve problems on a much larger scale. Imagine a world in which people are present, patient, kinder, and more helpful to others.