Word-Of-the-Week #925: Attention

April 28, 2022 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #925: Attention 

Attention – observation and awareness of one’s surroundings.

Did you find anything awe inspiring last week? Did it spur you to want to get out and experience nature? Would you believe that the feeling of awe actually has proven health benefits?

This is part 2 of Feeling Awe May Be the Secret to Health and Happiness from the Parade article by Paula Spencer Scott. She writes, “For years, only the “big six” emotions (happiness, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, surprise) got much scientific attention. “Awe was thought of as the Gucci of the emotion world—cool if you have it, but a luxury item,” says Arizona State University psychologist Michelle Shiota. “But it’s now thought to be a basic part of being human that we all need.”

 Here’s what these “wizards of awe” are discovering: 

  • Awe binds us together. It’s a likely reason human beings are wired to feel awe, Keltner says: to get us to act in more collaborative ways, ensuring our survival. Facing a great vista—or a starry sky or a cathedral—we realize we’re a small part of something much larger. Our thinking shifts from me to we. 

Astronauts feel this in the extreme. They often report an intense, “far out” state of oneness with humanity when looking back at Earth, called the “overview effect,” says David Bryce Yaden, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. Our pale blue dot “looks small against the vastness of space and yet represents all that we hold meaningful,” he says. Call it a wow of astronomical proportions. 

2.5 – Average number of times a week people feel awe.

  • Awe helps us see things in new ways. Unlike, say, fear or excitement, which trip our “fight-or-flight” response, awe puts on the brakes and keeps us still and attentive, says Shiota. This “stop-and-think” phenomenon makes us more receptive to details and new information. No wonder Albert Einstein described feelings of awe as “the source of all true art and science.” 

  • Awe makes us nicer—and happier. “Awe causes a kind of Be Here Now that seems to dissolve the self,” says social psychologist Paul Piff of the University of California, Irvine. It makes us act more generously, ethically and fairly. 

In one experiment, subjects spent a full minute looking at either an impressive stand of North America’s tallest eucalyptus trees or a plain building. Not surprisingly, the tree-gazers reported higher awe. When a tester “accidentally” dropped pens in front of the subjects, the awestruck ones helped pick up way more than the others. 

75% – How much awe is inspired by the natural world. 

  • Awe alters our bodies. Awe is the positive emotion that most strongly predicts reduced levels of cytokines, a marker of inflammation that’s linked to depression, according to research from University of Toronto’s Jennifer Stellar. That suggests a possible role in health and healing, and may help explain the raft of recent studies that have linked exposure to nature with lower blood pressure, stronger immune systems and more. Researchers even wonder whether a lack of nature and other opportunities for feeling awe might add to the stresses and health damage that come from living in urban blight or poverty.

This week’s focus is paying attention to the awe around you and how it makes you feel. Would you like to be nicer and happier? Would you like to be more receptive to details and new information? Would you like to be as healthy as possible without taking prescription drugs?

Stay tuned – next week 7 Ways to Find Awe in Everyday Life!

Photo Courtesy of long time subscriber and friend Bob McCormick who wrote, “Took attached photo from my front deck a few mornings ago.” How’s that for awesome?

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Word-Of-the-Week #924: Awe

April 21, 2022 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #924: Awe 

Awe– an overwhelming feeling of wonder; often inspired by something majestic or powerful.

When was the last time you saw something jaw dropping? How often do you spend time outdoors in nature? Do you remember the last time you felt an electrifying emotion?

Feeling Awe May Be the Secret to Health and Happiness comes from the Parade article by Paula Spencer Scott. She writes, “The hike, in a narrow box canyon, wasn’t going so well. Stacy Bare and his brother were arguing, for one thing. High sandstone walls hid any view, even from the 6-foot-7 Bare. After a second Army deployment, in Iraq, he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): drinking too much, suicidal and struggling to find his way forward. What am I doing with my life? What does it mean to be at home, a veteran, anyway? 

The trail led to a ladder. “We climbed up, still shouting at one another,” recalls Bare. “Then we looked up and wham!” 

The towering slabs of Druid Arch rose up, a sunset-hued Stonehenge in the middle of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. The men’s jaws dropped. They laughed. They hugged. What were we even arguing about? Bare recalls thinking. 

They’d been awestruck—altered in an instant by an electrifying emotion that scientists have only recently begun to study. You didn’t see Awe as a character in Pixar’s hit film Inside Out. But new studies show that it’s a dramatic feeling with the power to inspire, heal, change our thinking and bring people together. 


“Awe is the feeling of being in the presence of something vast or beyond human scale, that transcends our current understanding of things,” says psychologist Dacher Keltner, who heads the University of California, Berkeley’s Social Interaction Lab. A pioneer in the study of emotions, he helped Facebook create those new “like” button emojis and consulted on Inside Out. 

In 2013, Keltner’s lab kicked off Project Awe, a three-year research project funded by the John Templeton Foundation that has spawned more research on the topic than in the previous three decades. 

You might recognize awe as that spine-tingling feeling you get gazing at the Milky Way. The dumbstruck wonder you feel as your newborn’s hand curls around your pinkie. Niagara Falls! Cirque du Soleil! Fireworks! The Sistine Chapel! The national anthem sung by someone who knows how! 

“People often talk about awe as seeing the Grand Canyon or meeting Nelson Mandela,” Keltner says. “But our studies show it also can be much more accessible—a friend is so generous you’re astounded, or you see a cool pattern of shadows and leaves.”

This week’s focus is finding awe in your life. Do you remember the last time you had an overwhelming feeling of wonder? Have you ever seen the Grand Canyon? Or experienced the beauty of Yosemite? When was the last time you admired a beautiful sunset, a full moon rising, or took time to just look and marvel at the stars?

Stay Tuned…next week Part 2 follow up.

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Word-Of-the-Week #923: Transparent

April 14, 2022 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #923: Transparent 

Transparent candid; frank; open. 

How easy is it for you to tell people what you want or don’t want?

Once again, Steve Straus, author of STEVE’S 3-MINUTE COACHING, sent a very thought-provoking piece.

Principle: Transparent

(Principles are basic truths that, when applied, cause success to come to you easier and quicker.) 

What if in all your important relationships you built them around four statements:

 1) I’ll tell you what I want.

2) I’ll tell you what I don’t want.

3) Tell me what you want.

4) Tell me what you don’t want. 

The intersection of those four responses will show you, both of you, the map for where the relationship can go. 

No games, guessing, assumptions or hoping. Instead clarity, communication, connection. Meaning in place of masks. 

You can use this model in personal relationships, with neighbors, coworkers, employees, with anyone you want. 

You will probably discover what many already have: the person you share this with will tell you how refreshing it is to be with someone in this transparent way. 

By the way, each of you have the right – no, the obligation – to revise your responses as you learn and grow as the relationship evolves. 

Coaching Point: Does it seem unreasonable or refreshing to be this transparent? 

See all past issues and subscribe here Steve’s 3-Minute Coaching

Copyright © 2022 Steve Straus, All rights reserved.

This week’s focus is being transparent. How comfortable are you expressing yourself? Have you ever told someone what you want and don’t want? Has anyone ever told you what they want or don’t want? How did that make you feel?

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Word-Of-the-Week #922: Spontaneity

April 7, 2022 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #922: Spontaneity 

Spontaneitythe ability to go with the flow.

How easy is it for you to “just go with the flow?” Do you find yourself so caught up in getting things accomplished or completing your to-do list that you have a hard time going with the flow? Do you get irritated, get angry or even worse, go into fits of rage when your plans don’t work the way you want them to?

Spontaneity is all about allowing yourself to accept what the universe puts in front of you. Sometimes you have no control over it. I love completing my to-do list and I love it when things work exactly as I have planned. But there are just times when no matter how hard I try, I encounter road blocks.

In order to deal with those little frustrations, I came up with a game that I call “Planned Spontaneity.” This game has saved me so much stress and unhappiness that I feel compelled to share it with you.

How many times have you had interruptions when you are traveling? I can’t tell you how many times one of my flights has been delayed or cancelled. And there isn’t anything that I can do about that. I have no control over the weather or mechanical failures. I don’t get to fly the plane! Nor am I qualified to do that!

And yet, I have seen people go into fits because a thunder storm has grounded the plane. Who wants to get on a plane that might crash? It always amazes me to see grown men and women have what appears to be a “temper tantrum” in public.

Before I travel for work or when I am on vacation, I go right into my game of “Planned Spontaneity.” I do the same when I have company coming. When I set myself up to accept whatever happens, it is so easy to go with the flow.

Where in your life could you benefit by “Planned Spontaneity?” This week focus on going with the flow. How does it make you feel to not have a set plan and to experience being in the moment?

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Word-Of-the-Week #921: Colorful

March 31, 2022 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #921: Colorful 

Colorful – having vivid, striking, or spirited elements.

Did you know that today is National Crayon Day? Do you know what to do to celebrate National Crayon Day?

“Today is a colorful day, one truly worth celebrating. It is a day to celebrate the creation of crayons and the joy of coloring. 

The origin of crayons dates back to the17th century. In those days, the original crayons were not made of wax. The colors in those early days, were more limited, and not as long lasting or durable. Wax crayons arrived at the beginning of the 1900’s.

 In 1902, the Crayola brand arrived on the scene and the world of crayons has never been the same since. Between 1902 and today, Crayola has come out with 120 colors. This day can be a little bittersweet, as Crayola has retired 50 colors, most often on this very day. 

Crayon Trivia

  • Crayola makes over 3 billion crayons a year. Other manufacturers combined are just a small fraction of total annual production.
  • The world’s largest crayon was made by Crayola. It was 15’6″ and weighed 1,352 pounds. 
  • The smell of crayons is the most recognizable scent for adults. 
  • Over the years, Crayola has made over 237 billion crayons.

Do you know what to do to celebrate National Crayon Day? You guessed it. Get out the coloring book and crayons and show off your artistic skills. 

How to Celebrate National Crayon Day

Get out some crayons and a coloring book and get to work. If you are an adult, it will surely bring back fond memories and make you feel like a kid again. 

While we firmly believe this should be a national day, there is no official act of congress or presidential proclamation.”

FUN-fact – Today is also Bunsen Burner Day, National Clam on the Half Shell Day & World Backup Day.

This week is all about being colorful. When’s the last time you experienced the joy of coloring? Did it bring back fond memories of your childhood?

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