A short while ago I came across an article about Skychology. Sky what I hear you say?!
Skychology is defined as: "scientific endeavours to understand and operationalise interactions with the sky to enhance wellbeing" (Conway & Hefferon, 2019)".
I almost flicked past with a tut and an eye roll - what will they come up with next. But something made me read on, and ever since I have become completely obsessed!
Skychology is the practice of looking up. And that's it really - so simple! By looking up and gazing at the sky we start to embark in a form of meditation. It can change our perception of ourselves, of our day, our mood. It can make us feel small and humble - removing ourselves from the being the center of everything to becoming a small cog in an awe inspiring world.
The feeling of awe is being researched and so far is showing a wide range of benefits from happiness and health to increased generosity, humility and critical thinking. According to researchers at the Greater Good Science Centre, kindness, patience and generosity are often in greater supply for those who regularly indulge in awe-inspiring activities. All this just from looking up!
Skychology is also being studied and the results of the first review suggests that looking up at the sky is an effective everyday psychological and physiological wellbeing activity, with the potential to positively impact lives all across the world (visit successfulhumans.org for more details).
Putting a name to this practice has made me more aware of how long I have unintentionally been a 'sky gazer'. Every summer I spend as much time as possible laying on the ground watching the clouds - last year my young daughter joined me and we whiled away hours holding hands and picking shapes out of clouds. In the winter I love to curl up on a sofa with a hot tea and watch the rain lashing down, feeling small but warm and sheltered. Then there is the shiver of anticipation when we wake to a grey and snowy sky, the joy of watching birds sweep around an endless sky playground and the guessing games when we see an airplane shooting off to some exotic destination.
Some of the benefits of skychology:
It is a form of mindfulness and could be used in a meditation practice
Creates a feeling of awe
It is calming
It can bring your sense of self into perspective
It could help promote psychological and physiological wellbeing
It is free and accessible to all
So how often do you stop and look up? Do you ever stop to admire the sky rather than just check and see what the weather is doing? It is free, accessible and available to everyone, any time, all the time. No need for fancy equipment but I have added a couple of pointers below:
If you catch yourself gazing up at the sky, take a couple of deep, intentional breaths. This starts to turn sky gazing into a mindfulness and meditation practice
Don't worry about the weather - scorching days, sunsets, sunrises, lashing rain, twinkling stars, whatever the weather there will always be something awe inspiring
Position yourself so that you can see the sky as much as possible. Face a window when working, get outside even if it's for a short break. Take every opportunity you can to sky gaze
Allow some time for reflection. Does the sky match your mood or is it the complete opposite? Does it calm you? How do you feel when you sky gaze?
You can focus on the whole sky or small elements. Observe the colours, textures, sounds, smells, movement and stillness
Embrace the feeling of awe and take that forward into your every day life. Soon your tea will no longer be a quick morning cuppa - it will be an extraordinary taste sensation! Intentionally romanticise every area of your life