‘Looking Up’ – The Magic Happy Pill

birds sky morguefile

Do you ever look up? When you’re walking down the street do you ever look up at the sky and just take it in? Surprisingly, I find it to be one of the most grounding experiences, especially when I’m stuck in my head or when life has become particularly challenging.

It doesn’t matter if cars are honking and sirens are blaring, looking up seems to give me a unique sense of humble calm. It also makes me think of the saying, “Things are starting to look up.” Where did that come from? I’ve scoured the internet (ok, I’ve searched a little bit), and it makes me wonder if someone else somewhere realized this very same thing.

Think about what you see when you look up: the sky, the sun, the moon, stars, clouds, horizons, sunrises, sunsets, rainbows, birds, things that fly… all of these are written about, filmed and photographed because there’s something inherently magical about them. I mean, how many sunset photos do you see posted on Facebook and Instagram? I know I’ve posted a few.

The thing about gazing at a sunset is that it makes me see myself a bit more objectively, as the microscopic speck of an atom that I really am. Not in a way that makes me feel hopeless or insignificant, just maybe less important than I would like to think sometimes. It certainly takes the expression “first world problems” to a whole new level.

What this feeling really amounts to is gratitude. You can experience a quick dose of gratitude by simply shifting your gaze upward, even just above the horizon. If you pay attention you’ll realize that you probably rarely do it, especially if you’re someone who gets stuck in your head a lot, which is most of us.

When you’re stuck in your thoughts, the last thing that occurs to you is to look up, but try to remember. Next time you’re outside or walking down the street just look up and take a deep breath. You might be surprised… maybe Snoopy was onto something.

Have a beautiful week!

John Kalinowski
John Kalinowski is a Redding native based in New York. He’s an NYU-Certified Life Coach, Mindfulness Expert, Columnist, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Traveler, Art-Lover, and Truth-Teller. You can connect with him on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, or visit his website at johnkalinowski.com.
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6 Responses

  1. Avatar Grammy says:

    In our self absorbed society, it is nice to look up.

    Coming out of Costco in the evening I am often met with the most astonishing sunsets.  Going east on Victor over 44, the view of Mt. Lassen is amazing.  The North State comes into its’ own in the spring time (unless it is a control burn day.  I truly think they wait until the clearest day to burn.)

    Taking Cheri’ (our hard top convertible) out for a late evening drive in summer  is amazing.  You look up and the sky makes you stop breathing.













    • John John says:

      Northern California, and the Redding area in particular, have some of the most beautiful sunsets on the planet. All the more reason to look up. Thanks for sharing and Happy Holidays!  🙂

  2. Avatar Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    I love reading what you write John.  I call the exercise of getting out in the hinterlands “getting out of my mind.”  I need to put my brain on pause  and  just experience what is happening in the real world.  What I’ve seen looking up, since I moved to Redding are lots of birds migrating that I never saw before.  The robins are just starting to come through Redding.  They gorge on Toyon Berries and leave red droppings all over the place.  But sometimes when you look up at this time of year you can see thousands of migrating Robins, evenly space and invisible to anyone who is not looking up.  I see strings of hundreds of geese migrating that are so high that they resemble barely visible Vs of  tiny specs in the sky.   And you can’t  look up and see the sky unless you walk outside…..  Thank you for a great article….

  3. A. Jacoby A. Jacoby says:

    The phrase, “Things are looking up!” should incite us to way more looking up than usually informs our existence. .

    Thanks for the reminder.

  4. John John says:

    I agree. Sometimes when I look up, I can’t help but take a big deep breath. Funny, how nature is so available to help, but we’re often too busy to notice.