6 Ways to Find Inspiration and Boost Creativity

September 30, 2021

Meh: to express a lack of interest or enthusiasm, to feel apathetic, indifferent, or bored. We all have our meh moments, or for some perhaps this listless feeling drags on weeks and months.

But why is it that some people can claw back from the lackadaisical days easier or quicker than others? Who we are is certainly a factor, but what we do is key. As Ben Horowitz states in his book by the same title: what you do is who you are, so do more!

The point I’m making is that in most cases inspiration doesn’t just come to you, like the apple falling (supposedly) onto Isaac Newton’s head. Sitting around waiting for it to arrive is a futile exercise. Whether you feel you need to be inspired at home or work, or both, sometimes it's just about making changes to help you see things from a different perspective which, in turn, can stir up your creativity and invigorate your inventiveness.

1) Be at one with nature

Ok, this may seem like somewhat of a cliché, but clichés are clichés for a reason. We live in a world spinning at a million miles an hour (figuratively speaking). Work and the day to day aside, we are constantly planning, filling up our calendars, perusing social media and generally using a variety of devices to busy ourselves and (subconsciously) numb our minds. It’s so easy to get completely wrapped up in this modern way of life, but research shows living in such a way can be detrimental to our emotional and physical health, not to mention our relationships.

Why not, from time to time, close the laptop, put down the smartphone and go outside. Find a park or a hill or a field, really drink in your surroundings, appreciate the beauty of the natural world and notice what your senses tap in to. The scent of blossom, the sound of birdsong, the feel of grass under your bare feet or the fresh breeze on your skin. These are the things that have pretty much always existed and will outlive us in our lifetime. Observe and be in awe of this fact and sparks of inspiration may fly.

2) Mindfulness and meditation

These two Ms are a growing trend around the world, and with good reason. From schools, to offices, to private bedrooms, more and more people are trying their hand at mindfulness and meditation to train the brain and connect with their inner self. Proven to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression, aid memory and focus, improve energy and general wellbeing; we should have all been doing this years ago! Regularly practicing being mindful and meditative really can help us on our quest to achieve the healthier body and mind that we all yearn for. And physically, it actually changes our brains, shrinking the amygdala, the emotional centre of our brain that causes us to react. So where possible aim to medicate for between 10 – 30minutes a day and free your mind to create ideas that inspire.

3) Read

With the uprise of digital devices, reading is becoming a dying art, which is a crying shame. Reading has so many positive benefits: it strengthens the brain and prevents cerebral decline, can reduce stress and depression, aids sleep, builds your vocabulary, increases your capacity for empathy and can even help you live longer! These alone are all amazing reasons to read more. But think about what to read. A good place to start is with the classics. They’ve earned their right to be included in that category, so pick one and give it a whirl, you never know what you might take from it.

Aside from the highly renowned novels (and odd non-fiction classic too), autobiographies are a great place to start your reading-for-inspiration journey. Think about the people you admire and or have a deep respect for, maybe they have put pen to paper? If they’ve stamped their mark on your mind and/or heart, chances are what they have to say in depth will further increase your admiration and possibly lead to that eureka moment. Of course, in our modern world, with the internet at out fingertips, you’re only ever a few clicks away from a blog or TED talk which may well get those creative juices flowing, but always have an actual book on the go too if you can. Avoid those screens, keep it old school and wholesome. It’s good for the soul.

4) Take notes

Carry a notebook with you so you can jot down your thoughts or ideas whenever they land on you. They might not strike a creative chord at first, but you never know what may come to you when you flick back through at a later date.

If carrying a notebook isn’t feasible, keep one by your bedside at least, and turn to that (instead of your phone!) last thing at night and first thing in the morning. Again, you can record or doodle anything that may have come to you during the course of the day (or even in your sleep), but it’s also a good idea to write down things you are grateful for from the past 24 hours and your intention for the day ahead. Just these two small actions can have a hugely positive impact; giving yourself time for reflection at night and a proactive beginning in the morning, before you’ve even stepped out of bed.

5) Be ok with being in the moment

Whatever it is you need inspiration for, be it work or some other facet of life, remember that with each new day comes new priorities, so what inspires you today may not be what motivates you tomorrow. To be open to inspiration, you must be able to focus on the now and accept that your contentment and satisfaction may have come from nailing the big project at work last week, but today you have a sick child at home who needs your care and attention, and that is your new focal point.

Acceptance in general is a powerful value to possess. When you accept your current reality, how you are feeling and empathise with other’s emotions, you eliminate barriers to moving onwards and open yourself up to moments of ingenuity, clarity and creativity.

6) Follow people who inspire you

Some people like to be their own fountain of knowledge, but I suspect these people won’t be the most inspired. It’s good to have a hero, or at least realise the brilliance of others, and draw on their sagacity or energy. Try to regularly follow a handful of people that inspire you on social media, or via blogs, articles or whatever medium this idol of yours uses to communicate their words of wisdom.

In addition to following the musings of your current superstars, try putting up a picture of someone inspirational by your desk, bed or general living space, perhaps someone from yonder year, more unique and personal to you. And as the blue-tac is out already, why not post around a few lyrics or quotes that motivated you in your youth. Tapping into your history and having those tangible snippets nearby and part of your day can draw out a new sort of artistry, plus give you warm and fuzzy feelings, and who doesn’t enjoy those.

Hopefully you have found this blog interesting, perhaps even inspirational?! 😉 The 6 suggestions above cover the bases on where to look: the natural world, the web, books, other people and, most importantly, within yourself. That’s the fundamental focus. There isn’t a one size fits all solution here, we are all wonderfully unique, be willing to try new things with a view to find what works for you. Now stop reading, switch off the blue-light device, grab your novel and notebook, slip off your shoes, head to the nearest park and take several long, deep breaths. Inspiration and creativity is waiting in the wings.

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