We live in a wonderful world. We live in a pragmatic world. We live in a world of endless possibility. We live in a world filled with traps to avoid. It’s no wonder we find ourselves stressed. It’s no wonder we’ve lost our connection to wonder!

Why do we remove ourselves from wonder? Because we worry that it is outdated, uncool, childish, and unproductive. How many travel advice columns teach us how NOT to look like a tourist? How many times are we shown how to be at the front of the pack, leading the way, never looking back (or even around)? Wonder should be replaced with knowledge. With data. Get that wonder out of the way now, so I can get down to business.

Aren’t you tired of it? Don’t you sometimes think about how nice it would be to gawk in amazement at a blue sky/cool building/awesome sandwich? Seriously. We spend an awful lot of time in our own heads trying to make a plan, or get ahead at work, or make something happen. There are a lot of somethings already happening, and it is a joy to appreciate them. It is a joy to wonder.

When was the last time you sat in the woods, or any wild setting? I don’t mean you walked, ran, biked, or otherwise moved through the woods, I mean you SAT. While any time spent outdoors is terrific, there is something transformative about simply sitting there. Try it. Sit and engage all of your senses. Don’t DO anything, including meditation/yoga/writing. Start with 5 minutes, because I bet you’ll be antsy to get up and move after that short amount of time, and the first minute will be the hardest!

The next time you go out to eat at your favorite place, actually look at and smell your food when it arrives. Say “mmmmm” and clap your hands a little and bounce in your seat a little. Take a bite and close your eyes, savoring the deliciousness. Sound silly? Try it once and see how much more you enjoy your meal. You won’t have to do this every time, but doing it once will bring that same joy the next time you go out. Don’t believe me? Try it.

When you take a vacation, don’t worry about looking like a tourist. Who cares? Stop and stare at that amazing Renaissance-era building in Italy. Laugh with delight at the foot-long hotdog from the street cart in Prague. Spread your arms like Maria in The Sound of Music and twirl around in your local park.

Letting go is hard, because we feel like we need to be productive, but living fast isn’t more productive than slow. Think of how a freeway gets you to the next city faster, but all you experience is the fast trip. The slower back roads allow you to see small towns, maybe a great pie place, maybe even some wildlife. It isn’t that slow is better, but it is an important complement to fast.

Release your worry for a moment and see just how wonderful the world around us is, and how easy it is to find wonder in each day. Gawk and gaze and dream, and see just how joyful your life can be.