The Case for Wonder in a Distressed World

Jul 01, 2022

Joy Lab Podcast (episode 17)

Awe, wonder, enchantment… don’t we all want these experiences?! And when it comes to mental health, they’re super beneficial. In this episode, we’ll explain how the element of awe and these experiences are not completely outside of our control, but instead available to us daily. We’ll also dig into negative self-evaluation, a common obstacle that stands in the way of awe (aka, constant thoughts of comparing ourselves to others). As we learn how to put aside these negative thoughts, we can create space for awe and step into more joy.



  • Einstein had it right: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. They to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: their eyes are closed.”
  • Negative self-evaluation, or constantly comparing ourselves to others is a huge obstacle to awe and wonder.
  • The opening words from the dhammapada describe how powerful our thoughts are: “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.”
  • We can put aside our thoughts to make room for awe, wonder, enchantment, and joy.
  • Our bodies are awesome (stardust?!).
  • If you want to see more awe in the world, see it in yourself first.
  • Some truths about mental health (influenced by the 4 Noble Truths):
    1. Everyone suffers from time to time.
    2. With our thoughts, we make the world. What kind of world do we want to create for ourselves?
    3. We can be largely free of suffering, at least the kind that we create with our thinking.
    4. Our paths to wellbeing might be meandering and unique, but we will create more joy, step-by-step.
  • Thich Nhat Hanh: “Hell and paradise are both available in each step.”  




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