Harnessing the Power of Awe to Change our Health, Minds, and Lives
What do you feel when you gaze up at the Milky Way, see a beautiful rainbow, or stand before a mountain that seems impossibly high? What happens in your body, and what emotions arise, when you come face-to-face with the wonder of these sorts of experiences? This feeling – often complete with goosebumps and a shiver down our spine – is known as awe. And as it turns out, this underappreciated and often misunderstood emotion just might hold the key to a happy, meaningful, and healthy life.
Although we might think of awe as a rare emotion, reserved only for the most exhilarating of life’s marvels, studies have shown that awe-inspiring experiences are all around us. We don’t have to climb to the summit of Mount Everest, or stand atop the Eiffel Tower, to reap the many benefits of awe. Instead, we can learn to notice the changing colors of the leaves, truly see the joy in a child’s eyes, or allow ourselves to be uplifted by the kindness of a stranger. When we do, we improve our physical health, strengthen our social bonds, and even become happier.
Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves “awe-deprived” in today’s world. We rush from task to task, with little time to stop and smell the roses. The wonders of life, the small miracles that exist around us each day, pass through our awareness like water in a sieve. But with practice and conscious effort, we can change this, and reclaim space for awe in our everyday lives.
Through my upcoming book, professional workshops, and trainings for the general public, I have a passion for imparting the power of awe to the world around us. As it turns out, the moments that make us go “Wow!” can be the very moments that lastingly change our life forever.
As a clinical psychologist, I've long been fascinated by the notion of peak experiences, the sorts of moments that can take our breath away and change our lives. Awe, it turns out, is one of those experiences that can truly improve our mental health, physical well-being, social relationships, and more!
Over the past 5-10 years, a great deal of research has begun to emerge on the science of awe. We now understand how moments of awe impact us from head to toe, and can lead to lasting improvements across a number of areas of our life. Best of all, by making small changes in our daily life, we can begin to harness the power of awe and become happier, healthier, and more connected as a result.
Through my writing, speaking, and professional work, one of my passions is to help spread greater understanding around the science of awe, and to help all of us become more awestruck in our everyday lives. I am the author of 2 self-help books: Real Happiness and The Happiness Toolbox, both of which focus on the science of happiness and well-being. For information about my speaking and consulting, click here. For information about my books, click here.
In addition to my writing and speaking, I serve as the Director of Clinical Training at a large HMO in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I oversee the mental health training programs across 4 medical centers.
I'm pleased to offer a number of services to the public on the science of awe. These include professional workshops for healthcare professionals, media appearances to discuss the impact of awe on our lives, presentations and talks for the general public, consulting, and immersive retreats.
If you're a mental health clinician or healthcare professional, I'm pleased to offer professional workshops on the science and practice of awe. These typically range from one to six hours in length, and provide an overview of the current research on awe along with practical tools for increasing our experience of awe in everyday life.
I've presented both nationally and internationally through organizations such as the Cape Cod Institute, PESI, Institute for Brain Potential, Psychotherapy Networker, TATRA, Kaiser Permanente, and more. For rates and further information, please use the contact information tab at the bottom of the page.
Over the past few years, I've had the opportunity to make frequent media appearances to discuss issues related to happiness, well-being, positive psychology, and awe. This has included appearances on the radio, television, and podcasts, as well as having articles published through popular online and print outlets such as mindbodygreen, Conscious Lifestyle magazine, and the Psychotherapy Networker Magazine.
If you're interested in having me on your show or podcast as a guest to discuss awe, or are interested in having me write a guest column or article on your site, please contact me for further information.
PRESENTATIONS FOR THE PUBLIC
While I love giving presentations to professional audiences, one of my true professional passions is to deliver seminars, talks, and keynotes to the public at large. Whether you're a company, organization, or school, I'm happy to come and present on the science of awe, and teach your audience or group more about its powers.
Whether you're a company looking to gain an edge in the marketplace, or an organization looking to improve the well-being of its employees, I'm thrilled to offer consultation on applications of awe in the workplace. Experiences of awe have been linked to a host of benefits, including improved physical and emotional health, enhanced immune system functioning, increased compassion and social relationships, and improved cognitive functioning. Please contact me for further information about this service.
Looking to experience a concentrated dose of awe in an immersive environment? Leaving the office and experiencing the power of awe firsthand can be a life-altering experience. I've delivered extended retreats in a number of settings, including Cape Cod, cruise ships, and remote retreat centers around the United States. These multi-day experiences can be tailored to fit your needs, and can range from two to seven days in length.
CURRENT SPEAKING SCHEDULE
2019 Speaking Schedule:
March-April (various dates + locations): A series of 10 single-day (6-hour) continuing education seminars through the Institute for Brain Potential (IBP), with locations throughout the Bay Area. Check out https://www.ibpceu.com for more information and locations.
March 21-24: Full-Day Science of Happiness class presented at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium in Washington, DC. Visit https://www.psychnetworker.org/2019/ for more details.
April 13-14: 2-day Science of Happiness workshop in Istanbul, Turkey
June 11: Full-day Science of Happiness workshop presented for Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA. (internal attendees only)
July: 2-day workshop for Kaiser Permanente employees on the Science of Awe (internal attendees only)
August 10-17: Weeklong Continuing Education Alaska Cruise for Mental Health Professionals. https://www.pesi.com/events/special
August 19-23: Weeklong Seminar at the Cape Cod Institute. https://www.cape.org/jonah-paquette
August 28: Full-day training on the Science of Awe, hosted by Institute for Brain Potential (IBP) and held in Novato, CA. Check out https://www.ibpceu.com for registration and information
September-November (various dates + locations): A series of 6 single-day (6-hour) continuing education seminars entitled "Changing how we feel by changing how we think," sponsored by the Institute for Brain Potential. Check out https://www.ibpceu.com for more information and locations.
October 14-23: The Joyful Brain. A series of 6 day-long seminars throughout Australia. https://www.tatratraining.com/joyful-brain/
November 18: 6-hour Science of Happiness seminar (webinar) sponsored by TZK Seminars. For information and registration, please visit
December 9: 3-hour Science of Awe seminar (webinar) sponsored by TZK Seminars. For information and registration, please visit
December 14: 6-hour Science of Happiness seminar (webinar) sponsored by TZK Seminars. For information and registration, please visit
Sampling of Past Speaking Engagements:
Institute for Brain Potential
Cape Cod Institute
I'm excited to announce that in June 2020, I'll be publishing a book on the science of Awe. I've partnered with Shambhala Publications, one of the leading publishers in the personal growth and psychology self-help space. In it, I'll explore the science of awe, including its impact on our physical health, emotional well-being, and overall lives. It will also include over 60 easy-to-use practices to bring greater awe into your own life.
This will be my 3rd book overall, coming on the heels of Real Happiness and The Happiness Toolbox. I'm thrilled to continue my journey of offering readers new ways to live a fulfilling, happy, and meaningful life.
For more information about my first book, Real Happiness, please visit the following link: https://amzn.to/2GAoNZt
For more information about my second book, The Happiness Toolbox, please visit the following link: https://amzn.to/2DSNgFA
Although the field of awe is brand-new and cutting-edge, the last few years have seen a number of research studies showing the benefits of awe across a wide range of areas in our lives. Among the exciting findings to emerge so far:
Awe boosts positive emotional states, such as gratitude, altruism, and compassion
Awe makes us more curious and creative in our thinking
Awe reduces inflammation in our body -- high levels of inflammation have been linked to a host of problems including depression and cardiovascular disease
Awe makes us more generous towards others
Awe gives us an expanded sense of time, a welcome antidote to the widespread feelings of "time poverty" many of us feel these days
Awe improves our critical thinking skills, allowing us to solve problems more effectively