The Life-Enhancing Anxiety of Awe: 19 Steps to Enhance Your Experience of Awe Toward Life by Dr. Kirk Schneider

Mindfulness
a year ago

The Life-Enhancing Anxiety of Awe: 19 Steps to Enhance Your Experience of Awe Toward Life

Life can be stressful. Anxiety and anxiety disorders are going through the roof in our time. There is a war going on in Ukraine, violence seems to be everywhere in the news and climate disaster is upon us. These crises are driven by and perpetrate anxiety. Yet I believe we need more of a certain type of anxiety – one that can help us better cope with whatever life throws at us. I call this life-enhancing anxiety.

Life-enhancing anxiety enables us to live with and make the best of the depth and mystery of existence. It energizes lifestyles, encounters and inquiries that lead to richer, more gratifying, more invigorated lives.

Following are practical steps readers can take to enhance their experience of awe toward life. These steps are drawn from my own and others’ paths over many years of grappling with life-enhancing anxiety.

  1. Take time to reflect (be present).
  2. Develop a capacity to slow down.
  3. Develop a capacity to savor the moment.
  4. Experience in-depth therapy or meditation.
  5. Practice seeing the big picture.
  6. Cultivate openness to the mystery of life (including wonder and surprise).
  7. Cultivate an appreciation for the fact of life.
  8. Foster an appreciation of pain as a sometime teacher.
  9. Nurture an appreciation of balance (e.g., between fragility and boldness).
  10. Seek contemplative time alone.
  11. Seek contemplative time in nature.
  12. Pursue contemplative time with close others.
  13. Travel.
  14. Focus on what you love.
  15. Find an awe-based mentor.
  16. Cultivate an ability to trust the evolving nature of conflict (e.g., “This too shall pass”).
  17. Cultivate an ability to trust the evolving nature of life.
  18. Nurture an ability to give yourself over – discerningly – to the unknowable.
  19. Nurture an ability to trust the ultimately unknowable.

Life-enhancing anxiety encompasses but goes beyond “post-traumatic growth.” It addresses our capacity to grow from the ups and downs of life itself – not just parts of life. The more people can face and grapple with the contrasts and contradictions of their lives, the greater the likelihood that they will experience the humility and wonder, the sense of adventure – in short, the awe – of everyday life.

Note: The content on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on 30Seconds.com do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

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Elisa Schmitz
"Life-enhancing anxiety encompasses but goes beyond “post-traumatic growth.” It addresses our capacity to grow from the ups and downs of life itself – not just parts of life." What an empowering way to look at life's chaos. Many thanks for sharing this!

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