Inspiration is the fuel that drives creativity, motivation, productivity, and more meaningful relationships.

Yet inspiration can sometimes be so elusive.   It’s often hard to feel it when we’re flooded with stressful news, work long hours, or have dull or routine jobs.

And yet when confronted with the right piece of uplifting music, a child’s smile, fresh flowers, or someone we find sexy, suddenly inspiration can hit us.   The flood of good feelings come on, and in an instant we’ve got more energy, and feel lighter and happier.

So how can we harness the power of inspiration?  How can we feel it more often?

Here are 6 ways to find inspiration and sustain it:


1)  Create a collection of things that inspire you

Spend a few weeks to review and curate all the best content and sources of inspiration you’ve been exposed to.  Consider photos, social media posts, news stories, people, magazine images, songs on the radio, and quotes you’ve come across that make you feel good.

Aim for about 20-30 items, with a maximum of 50 so you don’t get overwhelmed.  Save them to a single folder on your phone or computer.  If they don’t naturally exist in electronic form, try to take a photo.

Really force yourself to think about everything you come into contact with that lifts your mood.

Once you have the items saved in one handy place, then make it a habit to look through these items and read/listen/view them regularly.   See it as one of your “go to” solutions when you need a boost.

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2)  Spend at least 5-10 minutes a day interacting with inspirational people

Think about who you know that inspires you and find ways to spend time with them each day.  This could be a boss, co-worker, your children or spouse, a friend, or neighbor.  If you can’t see them in person, then talk to them by phone/text/video chat.

For additional inspiration, consider people you don’t know personally but you “interact” with them by watching or listening to them on videos/podcasts/tv/social media.  Just be sure to focus your interactions on positive/uplifting content.

3)  Spend time in nature

Being outdoors is one the easiest ways to boost your mood and find inspiration.  Natural beauty is all around us.  It really doesn’t matter if you are actively engaged in an outdoor sport, doing chores in your yard, or just taking a walk or hike, the act of being outside can be very powerful.

If you live in a climate that makes being outside in certain seasons less comfortable, then make the short time you spend outdoors more memorable by focusing in on simple things.

For example, take time to really look at the moon for a few minutes, or notice the icicle formations as you walk to your car or the subway.  The point is to notice and appreciate the diverse and surprising ways that the natural world expresses itself.

4)  Touch and hold a tangible object that invokes positive memories

Look around your house for an item that has special meaning that always makes you feel good when you see it.  It could be a souvenir from a fun vacation, a framed picture of a loved one, a trophy, or your grandfather’s baseball glove.

Objects have an incredible power to remind us of good times and what we love.

Think of all the men going off to war with a picture of their sweetheart in their wallet.  Keep the item handy and hold it in your hands on a regular basis.   Savor whatever good feelings the object creates for you.


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5)  Volunteer at a charity or just help someone in need

One of the quickest ways to improve your mood and get inspired is to do something to help someone.  Find a cause that you care about and get involved.  Look for ways to assist people in everyday situations.

Even the simple act of holding the door for someone or giving directions to a lost motorist can give you a boost.

Research has shown that altruistic behavior can release feel good hormones such as oxytocin and enhance your overall health and wellbeing.

6)  Train yourself to “see the good” and limit exposure to negative media

Optimism, selective attention, and positive thinking are all thinking skills that you can build over time.   Train your brain to search for positive messages and data among all the negativity that comes at you every day.

Ask, “What’s good about this?”  Take active control over what kinds of information you expose yourself to.

Avoid getting caught up with too much negativity or sensationalism on social media, tv, etc.  While it’s important to stay informed to a certain degree, keep the news in perspective and balance your intake with other types of stimulation and media.

DIVE DEEPER:  Boost your motivation, productivity, and resilience by mastering how you think about your life story here.

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