Why do the words "childlike wonder" go so well together? What's wrong with us grownups? Where did OUR wonder go?
Having a sense of wonder means feeling amazed and curious about the world around you. It means being open to new experiences and ideas. It's being able to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the world.
Doesn't that sound worth keeping?
When you have a sense of wonder, you can see the world with fresh eyes. You appreciate small details, and find joy in the simple things. You're engaged and present. You're more open-minded and accepting. You have meaning and purpose.
How did you lose your sense of wonder?
As we age, there are some common culprits that start to dim our view of the world. See if any of these ring true for you.
- Familiarity: When things get too routine, we start to take them for granted, and we get into a rut. It's too easy to think you've "seen it all".
- Stress: Negativity, anxiety, and the ongoing stresses of life can start to drag you down. Your mind is busy managing problems.
- Cynicism: It's natural to experience disappointment, and we learn good lessons each time. But you might start to build up a defense mechanism against disappointment. You might find yourself refusing to see the good in the world.
- Trauma: People who have experienced trauma may have a harder time feeling a sense of wonder. Understandably, they may have developed a more guarded or closed-off outlook on life.
Whatever has brought you down, it's possible to look up again. Losing your sense of wonder isn't permanent. With intention you can regain a sense of awe and appreciation for the world around you.
11 ways to reconnect with your sense of wonder
1. Spend time in nature.
Nature has a way of inspiring awe and wonder, even to the grumpiest of us. Take a walk in the woods, sit by a lake, or watch the sunset.
2. Bring nature indoors.
Even if you can't get outside very often, bring a little nature inside. A cute succulent on your desk. A tray of natural found objects on your nightstand. An open window on a breezy day. Let nature sneak up on you in quiet moments.
3. Travel to new places.
Traveling to new places can help you see the world with fresh eyes and appreciate its diversity. You don't even have to leave the country. Something as simple as taking a different route to work can spark curious new thoughts.
4. Learn something new.
Likewise, take up a new hobby or learning a new skill helps turn your active mind back on. You'll meet new people. You'll think about things differently. You might even have fun!
5. Meditate or practice mindfulness.
A sense of wonder doesn't always have to be about the big world out there. There's a wonderous world inside you, as well. Something as simple as noticing your breath, in and out, can be a captivating experience.
Try this: Pick up a new notebook to capture your mindfulness thoughts.
6. Read books or watch movies that inspire wonder.
This might sound like an obvious question, but, are you constantly looking at depressing things? Read books and watch movies that ignite your imagination. Listen to podcasts that engage your curiosity. Follow social media accounts that share the beauty of the world.
7. Spend time with children.
If you've forgotten what "childlike wonder" means, try seeing the world through the eyes of a child. Children are mindfulness naturals. Watch how they engage with their whole bodies. Watch how they notice the tiny details.
8. Listen to music.
Music can be a powerful way to connect with your emotions and feel a sense of wonder. Sometimes a single song can launch you into an intense wonderment. Revisit the music that you used to love, or branch out into something completely new.
9. Volunteer or give back.
Helping others can knock you out of your routine and help you focus outside of yourself. It can give you a sense of purpose and can you appreciate the goodness in the world.
10. Take a break from technology.
This one probably goes without saying. If you're feeling a lack of wonder you need something new to focus on. Step one is to put down the media that's been sucking all your attention. Sometimes we need to unplug in order to truly connect with the world around us.
11. Practice gratitude.
Taking a minute every day to notice the things you're grateful for is a powerful practice. Life really is wonderful, and the proof is already right in front of you. You simply have to change the way you look for it.
What do you have to lose?
A sense of wonder means curiosity, meaning, purpose, appreciation, joy, peacefulness, hopefulness.
All good stuff!
Isn't it time to get started?