Delight and Health
The “This American Life”podcast recently spent an entire episode on the benefits of delight, that feeling of joy we feel when we experience an event, interaction or moment of particular beauty which touches our heart and reminds us of the miracle of being alive on this earth at this particular time.
Similarly, the New York Times printed an article recently about how “Awe Walks” can have profound benefits on our well being.
What does this mean for us? I see two factors that we should consider. One, as described in the Times article, there are things around us everyday which should inspire awe in our hearts. If we stop to appreciate these during our daily walks, our well being will be enhanced, appreciation and gratitude for the beauty in our lives will increase, and our health will certainly benefit.
The second factor is that we should seek out experiences in our lives that bring us delight. The poet Ross Gay wrote an entire book after keeping a journal of the things that delighted him everyday. He wrote wonderful things like how walking through an airport carrying a tomato plant seedling makes people smile.
I have some other suggestions:
1. Stop to notice the beauty around you: a sunset, a blossoming tree in your neighborhood, an elderly woman smiling ear to ear while walking her small dog through a shady park. You will feel awe.
2. Create moments of delight: strike up a conversation with a four year old - you will be amazed! Compliment a stranger you meet in the elevator - outfit, hair, nails, shoes - again you will be amazed - you will bring joy and feel joy simultaneously!
3. In your daily journal, create a section where you discuss what delighted you that day- this will exponentially increase your joy and inspire you to embrace your life.
The point is this: We are surrounded by moments of delight and awe in our daily lives - those we appreciate and those we actually create.
Experiencing delight every day may not lengthen our lives but it will definitely increase the pleasure we feel, living every day to the fullest!
Joy and Peace,
Dr. John Monaco