Wellness Pearls

03 May 2023


The rest is not our business.   T.S. Elliott

Awe is an emotion that may be a key to the good life.  It’s that unique feeling of being in the presence of something vast.  It transcends our current understanding of the world; it’s beyond language and thought. It’s the taking in of breathtaking beauty.  We can reliably evoke it if we envision our human problems from a distance – in space, at a museum or an old forest.  If you want to feel more positive emotions, look for things far bigger than you.  I have felt it at high school reunions and as collective effervescence at comedy shows.

The one that captures my attention is Moral Beauty…when we witness people helping other people.  Moral beauty is the noticing of kindness, courage or perseverance in others.  Dacher Keltner  categorizes awe into eight (8) wonders of life that most commonly induce this state:

  • moral beauty (e.g. witnessing courage, kindness at work)
  • collective effervescence
  • music
  • visual art
  • spirituality (encountering the divine)
  • mortality
  • epiphanies

Just this weekend I was feeling twitchy and agitated about a conference I attended that I had been looking forward to for months.  It turned into a huge disappointment for me.  I was having a hard time letting it go.  So, I took to the forest and 15 minutes into the hike, I was able to access awe instantly in the early spring leaves and a sea of bluebells as groundcover.  It was so accessible and nearby.  It is the catalyst for gratitude, the counter to cynicism, the promoter of wellbeing.  Hunt it down.

To learn more on AWE, watch or listen here.

Wellbeing Tools

Emotions Evoked by Video

For those looking for an even quicker fix, scientists at Google and Berkeley have created the Art Emotions Map, featuring pictures of famous artworks that elicit certain feelings, including awe.

Mind Tools to Expand your Perspective

Grow Bigger in a GOOD WAY

 Perspective Changing Space Elevator

Scroll UP on this playful  Space elevator to explore distances.  You can even listen to elevator music as you ascend into the stratosphere.  It can help to approach life with a galaxy perspective and right size our daily concerns.

Beautiful Email Signature

A leader I know has thoughtfully added this to her signature line to every email she sends out from the Dean’s Office.  Sending this unambiguous message, we need not be available 24/7.

Please know that I respect boundaries around personal time. If you receive an email from me during your personal time, please protect your time and wait to respond until you are working.

Lorna Finnegan, PhD, RN, FNP, FAAN
Dean and Professor
Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing

Things You Are Allowed to Do

As a regular rulebreaker with a rebellious streak, I almost did not visit this site.  Then I discovered these ideas.  When I hired an editor to help me get “Choosing Wellness” published, it accelerated the project tenfold.

  • Say “I don’t know” or “I don’t have an opinion” when you don’t
  • Hire someone just as an excuse to make yourself complete a project
  • Write in books
  • Renegotiate hospital bills

Move Map

If you are thinking of moving, it may help to be clear on your criteria for what you want in your next move.   My criteria:  short winters, close to airports, no earthquakes.  I love where I live outside Washington DC, but this site is recommending Seattle Washington for my next move.

Stay Well and tell me in the comments where you find awe…..


6 Responses

  1. I am in awe of my 11 year old granddaughter, Macie Nicole Miles, and her bestie, Lauren Olson. The two of them host lemonade stands each summer and give the proceeds to various causes. This past weekend, they raised $2,640.06 to give two families of two kids in their school who are fighting leukemia. The girls have raised well over $6,000 in the past three summers and have donated to an animal sanctuary, the foster care network, supply our students and others. They give of themselves so richly and I’m honestly in awe of them and their parents/families for their efforts. Thank you.

  2. Poppy

    Excellent content, Dr. O’Grady! I seek to find awe and joy in each and every day…it’s there waiting for you to appreciate and spread it 🤍

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