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In our series, One Fun Thing, we’re collaborating with Anne Browning, PhD, associate dean for Well-Being at the UW School of Medicine, to bring you small, specific and low-effort ways to have more fun, plus a question to help you check in with yourself and others, and well-being resources.

When was the last time you listened to a song that gave you goosebumps, saw a sunrise that brought you to tears or watched an athletic feat that made you audibly ooh and ahh? 

These are experiences of awe, or the feeling that you are a small part of this expansive world filled with incredible ideas, people and places. Whether it’s seeing acrobatics land flips and twirls, or a medical team perform a complicated procedure, it feels good to bear witness to these inspiring phenomena — and it’s good for you, too. 

One fun thing: find awe

What feels awe-inspiring will be different for everyone. Maybe you marvel over your child’s first steps or perhaps you’re amazed by the generosity of a friend. Experiencing awe can boost curiosity and creativity, foster cooperation and connection, and bolster well-being and health.  

Sometimes, this happens out of the blue — when you’re awestruck — like when you see a performance that leaves you speechless. But you don’t have to wait for these moments to happen to you. A recent study found that taking 15 minutes to go on an awe walk, or a stroll where you pay attention to the outside world and try to feel a sense of awe, can boost feelings of compassion and gratitude.  

Seek out awe-inspiring experiences.

Question of the month

A way to check in with each other and ourselves. Use this question to connect with co-workers at your next meeting, to start a conversation around the dinner table or as a journal prompt.

What is one thing that happened recently that really moved you?