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Meditation on Sour Patch Kids

By Emma Huntzinger, Communications Manager

Today, I’m finding awe in the five blue Sour Patch Kids laying on my desk. Loose sugar loops them like halos, little sour angels, and reminds me of the “sweet” part of their ad campaigns from when I was a kid. First they’re sour, then they’re sweet.

I’m calling this mid-morning candy break my first act of self-care today. The experience of awe can help with heart health, immune system health, and decrease stress. Moreover, awe can give us an expanded sense of time, forcing our brains into the present and away from the stress of the future and dwelling on the past. I pop a blue Sour Patch Kid in my mouth, and I know I am here. I know I am sitting at my desk, typing out this blog, and I am not worrying about my to-do list for the afternoon or if I used too many exclamation points in my email yesterday. 

Awe has a mental and physical effect on us. In an interview with CBS, Dr. Keltner from UC Berkeley said that when he encouraged older individuals to go on an awe-walk in their neighborhood once a week, they reported feeling less lonely and less physical pain. 

Even sans-awe, sour candy can have a positive effect on our brains. Last year, one of my coworkers in our crisis intervention programs told me that eating sour candy can help snap you out of an anxiety attack. The jolt of sour on your tongue can act as a reset button in your brain, bringing you back to the right here, right now. It pulls you out of your head and back into your body.

This National Self-Care Day, I encourage you to find awe in the ordinary. Even those things that seem, for all intents and purposes, not very awesome. First the monotony of the grocery store, then the happy song playing from the speakers. First the rainy day, then the earthy smell of spring. First the dull, then the beautiful. First the sour, then the sweet.