Ever wish you could have that spark of inspiration every day, or even a few times a week, not just once in a blue moon? Turns out you can, and science says it will make your whole life better.
Researchers such as Barbara Frederickson at University of Michigan and Rollin McCraty at the Institute of HeartMath have shown that emotions like happiness, gratitude and a sense of meaningfulness not only feel good in our bodies, but they also give us the energy to do great things, even beyond what we might think is possible. How do we do it?
1. Ask yourself, “What makes my heart sing?"
What in your work inspires you, and what has become dry and stale? What in your relationships inspires you, and what has grown stagnant or contentious? What in your personal life gives us you great fulfillment, and what has become routine?
By reflecting on these questions, you’ll give yourself a jump-start to a new level of inspiration, energy, vitality and purpose in your life.
2. Be open and excited to explore new things.
An attitude of willingness — openness to all that life brings — encourages qualities like curiosity, humility, flexibility, and receptivity. Dr. Brene Brown has said that “vulnerability [is] uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. To be human is to be in vulnerability.” We're shown a way forward that we might never have come up with on our own. This is the inspirational power of willingness.
3. Be playful …. seriously.
Now that you’ve settled into adulthood and are doing all the right things for your career and family, remember not to lose the playfulness that made childhood carefree, adventure-filled and spontaneous. Playfulness brings flexibility and the ability to flow with life, instead of resisting, collapsing, or retreating. Believe me, these qualities get even more important with the years.
Playfulness is the kinetic energy that ignites creativity and attracts more inspiration. When you remember not to take life too seriously, you avoid needless dramas when a situation requires calm. Laughing at ourselves over our limitations and our humanness — these are hallmarks of playfulness.
4. Be yourself — everyone else is already taken.
OK, so Oscar Wilde made that great statement, not me. But why not let the example of others inspire you as you find your own way in life? The ability to be oneself, transparently and unashamedly, is one of the most important ingredients of an inspired life. Authenticity attracts the power to re-create ourselves in the face of crises and challenges. Being authentic empowers us to say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done. Living authentically brings a refreshing breeze to stale relationships and worn-out attitudes, a new freedom to be who we really are.
5. Do something that inspires you every day.
Are you singing enough? Dancing enough? Playing with your pets or your kids? Are you taking walks or hikes or bike rides in nature enough? Are you still reading poetry that inspires you? Do you make time for a great conversation with a close friend? If the answer is “no” to very many of these inspiration questions, your inspiration quotient is probably not nearly what it could be. You can change it!
6. Be grateful for what you have in your life.
There's so much beauty in life, in nature, why not go on a gratitude hunt? Seriously … make a list of everything in your life you’re grateful for. The people you love, the heroes you admire, particular places you love to visit, favorite activities, favorite music that makes your heart sing …. come on, this is getting fun! Creating a gratitude list has its own momentum that becomes irresistible.
Sure, your mind can come in with doubt and negativity. But the world can do that, so why bother?!
Awaken inspiration in your life every day and see what happens. See what new friends appear, what new opportunities, what new insights can turn a tough problem into a creative challenge. And then appreciate all your newfound wisdom and energy. You rock!