Why We Should Look Up at the Sky
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When did you last take a moment to really look up at the sky? Shifting your gaze upward can help us be more creative, it improves our capacity to focus - and it's a gateway to awe. Episode summary: Natalie didn’t spend much time finding shapes in the clouds as a small kid. And when she got older, looking up was even worse for her. Natalie spent time in jail, where she spent most of her days indoors under harsh lights. Today, she’s a student at a prestigious university. She tried a practice in looking up for our show. When we look up, our brain gets better at being playful, creative, and thinking critically. We also tend to see vast and beautiful things above our heads, like a canopy of leaves, branches and singing birds, or a starry night sky. Often, looking up is all we need to do to find moments of awe in our day-to-day lives. And that’s a wonderful thing, because feeling awe changes how our brains work in a way that’s really good for us. This is the second episode of The Science of Happiness in a three-part series called The Science of Awe. If you’d like to learn more about awe, our host, Dacher Keltner, has a new book out about it. It’s called Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life. Learn more here: https://tinyurl.com/3uzk8m5r \](https://tinyurl.com/3uzk8m5r) Practice: Look Up Over the course of a week or so, make it a point to look up in several different locations and at different times of the day and night. Be sure everywhere you choose is a safe place to do so, and of course, never look into the sun. Each time before you look up, take a moment first to notice how you feel, and then take a few deep, intentional breaths to help you get grounded into the present moment. Look up and let your eyes wander, noticing what inspires awe. If nothing does, that’s ok! This practice might help you cultivate awe more often, but it’s best to go into it each time with no expectations. Spend at least a few minutes looking up if it’s comfortable to do so, or as long as you like. When you’re done, take another moment to notice how you feel now. Today’s guests: Natalie is a student at UC Berkeley and also works with the UC Berkeley's Underground Scholars Program, which creates pathways for formerly incarcerated people to study at universities. We're not sharing Natalie's last name to protect her privacy. Michiel van Elk is a professor at Leiden University in The Netherlands. Learn more about van Elk and his work: https://tinyurl.com/4kc5tycc Resources from The Greater Good Science Center: How Nature Can Make You Kinder, Happier, and More Creative: https://tinyurl.com/yepuxd27 Six Ways to Incorporate Awe Into Your Daily Life: https://tinyurl.com/3emucdez How the Science of Awe Shaped Pixar’s “Soul:” https://tinyurl.com/37z43vrz How a Sense of Awe Can Inspire Us to Confront Threats to Humanity: https://tinyurl.com/3k6xprau More Resources About Awe KQED - Dacher Keltner on Finding Awe: https://tinyurl.com/575v6rvf The Atlantic  - The Quiet Profundity of Everyday Awe: https://tinyurl.com/yz623mff NYT - How a Bit of Awe Can Improve Your Health: https://tinyurl.com/4zdzcusk Sierra Club - The Science of Awe: https://tinyurl.com/3pfn23t7 Tell us about your experiences of awe. Email us at [email protected] or use the hashtag #happinesspod. Help us share The Science of Happiness! Leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or share this link with someone who might like the show: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap
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