One of the easiest ways to shift out of drama is to look for more experiences of awe each day.
The spine-tingling feeling of awe connects us with something bigger than ourselves. When we’re on the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™, our focus is about “me” rather than “we.” It is easy to become self-centered and, at our worst, even narcissistic.
“Awe is the feeling of being in the presence of something vast or beyond human scale, that transcends our current understanding of things,” says Nobel Prize winner psychologist Dr. Dacher Keltner.
Awe might feel like a sudden sensation of the extraordinary when you gaze upon a newborn baby, look at the stars on a clear night, or the view from a mountain top. One day awe might be the cuteness of a new puppy, a wonderful painting or the smell of a fragrant rose. Awe can even happen at work, perhaps in completing an extraordinary project or a transformational learning experience. Prayer and meditation can also create unity and the awe experience.
A few years ago, Donna was snorkeling in the warm blue waters off the shore of a Caribbean island. Suddenly a camouflaged fish emerged from the white and black speckled sand. The perfect synergy of fish and earth provided a lasting awestruck experience that still gives Donna goosebumps. Awe is a unique emotional sensation that transforms the moment from our single, small view of ourselves that fuel our drama stories.
How does awe help you transform your drama?
- Awe promotes curiosity. When faced with something that blows your mind, you want to find out more information. You begin to wonder about things you don’t fully understand and when you are curious your interest in listening and developing caring relationships will increase.
- Awe transforms negative emotions. Unlike the drama emotions of fear, pride or anxiety, which trigger your “fight-or-flight” response, awe interrupts those emotions and encourages you to stop and think about the unitive experience you are having. Pausing is one of the most important steps to give you the possibility of shifting out of the DDT.
- Awe increases feelings of generosity and empathy for others. It is not possible to be stingy and generous at the same time—or self-centered and empathic at the same time.
- Awe alters your body and promotes health. Research shows awe plays a role in health and healing, lowering blood pressure and building a stronger immune system. Creating awe moments in nature has been successfully used to treat veterans returning from war who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
With our attention going to our phones, TV’s and computers, we are getting fewer chances to find such transformative, awe-inspiring moments. We’re increasingly spending our time indoors away from nature or personal connection with neighbors, friends and co-workers.
When was the last time you had an awe-inspiring moment?
This holiday season we encourage you to create “My Daily Awe Moment.” To do this, reflect upon what creates awe for you. It may be listening to a beautiful symphony or your favorite musician or reading a powerful poem.
Maybe your awe moment is in nature. It doesn’t have to be a grand forest. Simply looking at the veins in a fall leaf can connect you to the extraordinary. For others, singing along with your favorite Christmas carol or allowing yourself to be amazed by a snow flake can create awe.
If you look, there are opportunities abound to experience the awe-some in the moment. Awe can truly transform your drama in an instant and help you grow as a Creator!