Yesterday, I shared how I discovered my creative side. You also got a peek into what being inspired means and how that can be different from one person to the next. Now it’s time to see how YOU can get your inspiration on! Inspiration used to be a foreign concept for me but today I find it fascinating. Since I started this blog, I’ve danced with inspiration, run after it and tried to figure out where the heck it was hiding. With experience, I can now get inspired with the help of these 5 strategies:
1- Do something you love
When we do something we love, we usually feel happy. We tend to let go and enjoy the moment. Feeling relaxed and free allows inspiration to surface more easily. For me, running, spending time with friends, doing yoga, baking and being surrounded by nature are just a few examples of moments that bring me joy and help me to connect to my creativity. When you are planning your day, make sure that you reserve some “me” time. This can be just taking 15 minutes to read your favourite magazine or going for a quick walk when it’s sunny outside.
2- Get moving!
If you aren’t already active on a regular basis, you now have another reason to start moving! In addition to the important health benefits that physical activity provides, getting your heart rate going can also get those creative juices flowing. I mentioned above that one of my passions is running. A good jog can lead you to experience runner’s high, a feeling of elation and well-being that puts you in a great mood. When you are in that happy place, you let go of certain negative thoughts that can normally block you from tapping into your imagination. You don’t necessarily have to run your way to inspiration. Any exercise where you work up a sweat is a great way to release stress and let ideas arise.
3- Quiet the mind
To understand the concept of “quieting the mind” and how this helps with inspiration, just imagine a room full of people all talking at the same time. Imagine one person in that room trying to speak up while everyone else is still gabbing away. You probably wouldn’t hear that individual, right? Well, our mind is like that room. There is a constant “mental chatter” which often makes it difficult for inspiration to come through. Now, please don’t try to stop thinking because that is basically impossible, but what you can do is focus your attention on one thing. This reduces the volume of the mental noise.
One way to get your brain to slow down and be a little less A.D.D. is with exercise. When doing physical activity – especially something challenging- your mind has to focus on what you are doing so you don’t fall flat on your face. This creates space for inspiration to come through. My second favourite way to quiet the mind is with meditation. If meditating seems a little intimidating to you, start by sitting for just a few minutse and focus on your breath.
It might seem challenging at first, but with time you will be able to sit still for longer periods and see how this calming practice can help you find your inspiration. Here are a few of my favourite meditations by Gabrielle Bernstein. These are free and my two faves are the Morning and Sleeping meditations. These cost $0.99 each and I often listen to the Releasing and Honouring yourself meditations. There is also the Simply Being meditation app that is pretty cool and only costs $1.99.
4- Create an inspiration board
If you read yesterday’s post, you now know that inspiration isn’t just about creating artistic masterpieces. It’s about creation, period. This can mean creating a life you love, dreaming up your next trip or simply whipping up fabulous meal. Inspiration boards (or “mood boards”) are a great way to get in touch with your creative side. To build your own inspiration board, get a bunch of magazines and tear out images that create a positive emotional reaction. Don’t stop to ask yourself why a particular picture resonates with you.
Sometimes, it can be something that is deep in your subconscious that might take a while to come out. On my board (pictured below), I have an image of a woman doing a really difficult yoga pose with a quote that says “I want to put a yoga studio in every mall in America.” I cut this out years before even doing my first yoga class but something about it appealed to me.
I now know that it was the strength she represented and the entrepreneurial factor that spoke to me. Of course, being in the digital age you can also create inspirational boards on Pinterest (see mine here). Personally, I find that there is something more powerful about having a board in your home that you walk by several times a day. It’s almost as though the fact that it is real takes you one step closer to actually reaching for the things that are featured in those images.
5- Just let go
So let’s say you have tried all the points above and it’s just not happening for you. You feel like you are in an inspirational cul-de-sac. The famous “writers block” that we hear about can also be experienced by non-writers. If you feel like you aren’t getting to that place where creativity is coming through, sometimes it’s best to just take a step back and stop trying. Put that pen/paper/computer/whatever aside and simply walk away.
I truly believe that even when we are not consciously at work, our subconscious creative wheels are still turning. Taking a breather can take the pressure off when you have been willing yourself to come up with a genius idea. When I had to write my final thesis in university, I was having a lot of difficulty finding an inspiring subject. When I realized that my usual techniques weren’t doing the trick, I decided to go shopping to get my mind off of things.
Believe it or not, it was in the fitting rooms of Club Monaco that I found the inspiration I had been looking for. The beautiful bright colours of the clothes I was trying on reminded me of a butterfly and that imagery is what led me to find the main idea for my paper, which was about transformation.
So you see, inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places. You have to keep an open mind and be willing to try different approaches to see what works best for you. Until next time my creative explorers, you can find me at the yoga studio in headstand or in the kitchen cooking up my next big idea. Ciao! xx