This month’s soother is a particular favorite of ours because it can be so transformative and it’s also free. Got your attention? Good, because the soother is simply a sense of wonder, and you’ll need your attention to find it in your world.
How does wonder soothe anxiety? To understand this, you have to first know the definition of wonder, which is a deeply-rooted curiosity about and profound connection with art or music or spirituality or nature. In other words, it is that feeling of transcendence you get when you are awed and inspired.
In 2015 at UC Berkeley, researchers learned that wonder had amazing physical and emotional effects on the subjects of their study. Participants who were able to “lose themselves” in something wondrous were found to have significantly lower levels of cytokines, proteins in the body which cause inflammation and related diseases. High levels of cytokines are also implicated in the development of depression and anxiety, so reducing those levels is yet another way to treat these brain disorders.
The best part of cultivating your sense of wonder is the exploration itself—finding out how to “lose yourself” in awe is, in itself, a mood boost. For us, a beautiful piece of music, a walk in nature, and looking at art are three of the ways we experience wonder. Other Anxiety Sisters find wonder in religious settings, through poetry or by communing with animals. The number of ways to experience awe is virtually endless.
To get you started, we’ve compiled a slide show of truly awe-inspiring places in the world. As you watch the show (we recommend full screen), imagine yourself inserted in the beauty—lose yourself in the soft music and allow yourself to be transported…