25 Ways to Find Inspiration, Relax, and Clear Your Mind

The world is so full of boring people. It’s important for leaders, teachers, writers, performers, and artists to share an influence that is NOT boring with this starved-for-passion world.

This is a guest post from Chelle who writes about relationships on her blog itmightbelove.com.

Recently I noticed Damien asked a question in his post about what we want and what we need:

What is your thing you can do today to relax your body and awaken your creativity?

Having a similiarly hectic life to everyone else I try to at least once a day do something to help me relax and clear my head – otherwise I would probably be spinning in circles most of the time. Most of the things you can do to find inspiration and clear your mind don’t take a lot of effort or time to do.
Here are 25 Ways to Find Inspiration, Relax, and Clear Your Mind:

  1. Music: No matter what my mood is or what I need to get done, music is a BIG source of inspiration. There’s music to fit any mood and sometimes just hearing certain songs can make you feel good. Playing guitar or piano (even if you’re not necessarily a rock star!) is another great creative outlet to find a little inspiration and/or clear your head.

  2. Nature: The world is a beautiful place, and yet most of the time we’re too busy to enjoy it. Whether you decide to watch the sky or just go for a walk in the woods, it can instantly make you feel less stressed and help get that creativity going again.

  3. People Watching: Sometimes its easy to be overwhelmed by the people we encounter daily through work or school or our families. But watching complete strangers can give you the opportunity to view life from someone else’s eyes. You can guess what they might be thinking or feeling or going through. You might find some ideas pretty easily by watching someone else for just a few minutes.

  4. Take a Road Trip: A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to drive 2 hours in a car all by myself. No kids screaming just me, my car, and the open road. It was amazing! It was the first time I had driven that long by myself I forgot how much a road trip could instantly clear your mind and inspire you!

  5. Photographs: Thanks to the power of the internet, there are millions of photos to take a look at and use for inspiration. If you like to take photographs, why not take a day sight seeing and snapping shots? Taking some time to go out and take pictures can be a great source for inspiration and relaxation.

  6. Dreams: Dreams can be very powerful in giving you insight in your life. If you have problems remembering dreams, all you need to do is get into a habit of writing about what your dreams were even if very hazy or foggy at first. You’ll start remembering very vivid details before long. Understanding your dreams is one step to understanding yourself better and even if the dream is complete nonsense it may give you a few good ideas! A good night’s rest can do wonders as well!

  7. Great Food: Inspiration can come from waking up your senses and taste is no exception. Maybe its comfort food or something exquisite. Sometimes ice cream makes everything all better too. If you tend to be overindulgent a lot, cutting back to healthier eating habits can also help improve your mood and help you concentrate.

  8. Aromatherapy: Sure, a lot of people will roll their eyes at the thought of candles and incense and all of that. But smell is another important sense that when stimulated can help you instantly relax. Recently I used an old real estate trick to put a few teaspoons of vanilla on a pan in the oven to warm. The whole house radiated of a warm fuzzy baking cookies smell that put everyone instantly in a good mood. Lavender is also another smell that most people respond well too.

  9. Touch: While we’re on the subject of the senses, touch is another that we often forget to nurture. Whether you hold someone’s hand, sign up for a day at a local spa for a massage, rub your dog’s belly, or just wear you most favorite worn out t-shirt the things your body touches and come into contact with can have a big affect on your mood and your creativity.

  10. Close Family/Friends: The people we are the closest to are typically the ones we take for granted the most. Take a time-out and really listen to them what they are thinking about or doing. You’ll be surprised at how inspiring it might be to see what they have to say or a different perspective on a situation you’re in.

  11. Online Forums: If I’m ever stuck on a blog post idea or need somewhere to let off some steam, online forums are great for this! Complete strangers love to talk about their problems and listen to yours. One of the nicest communities I’ve met are the folks over at MyLot but there are plenty of other great boards too. Sometimes listening to other people’s problems and trying to offer solutions can help you clear your head, give you a place to vent, and get new perspectives you hadn’t thought of before.

  12. Magazines & Newspapers: With everything online anymore, we forget about the thrill of a magazine coming in the mail or opening up the Sunday paper and spreading it across the table or couch. I like magazines and newspapers because they are perfect for my short attention span and they are also full of recent events and opinions to help inspire you.

  13. Brainstorm: Sometimes a good brainstorm can help you think of new ideas and thoughts. You can list pros and cons if you are trying to make a decision, or you can map it out with a list of ideas and cloud bubbles.

  14. Paint, Draw, Color: I am lucky that by being a mom I have a full arsenal of crayons, water colors, and markers at my disposal. Anytime the kids get restless or I feel like we need to calm down we sit down and paint or color. Instant relaxation!

  15. Hydrotherapy: A hot bath or shower, a soak in a hot tub, maybe even a few laps around a pool can all do wonders in relaxing you and helping you think clearly. Haven’t you ever heard anyone say I do my best thinking in the shower?

  16. Break the Monotony: Most days follow a routine of some sorts. Routines are usually good you’re more organized and better prepared to handle the stress that’s bound to come your way. But every so once inawhile, take a break from your routine. Do something entirely spontaneous. You’ll find yourself rejuvenated again.

  17. Exercise: It wasn’t until about 6 months ago I realized exercise wasn’t a chore but an instant pick me up. I usually workout to my list of 100 workout songs – afterwards I always feel much more relaxed.

  18. Do Nothing: Sometimes when you’re so caught up in the hustle and bustle of everything, what you really need is some do nothing time. Think about how much time you spend doing absolutely nothing there’s a good chance you’re not giving yourself a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. Take an hour (or maybe even a whole day) and do absolutely nothing.

  19. Clean House: Damien suggested this a few times and I completely agree. Clutter and disorganization can make you feel overwhelmed instantly. Whether you decide to organize the files on your computer or to clean out the garage or do dishes by hand in the sink doesn’t matter sometimes just cleaning things out can help you clear your mind and give you a sense of order and control.

  20. Write: Writing has always been an excellent way to relax and be inspired, unless you’re experiencing writers block of course! Sometimes keeping a daily or weekly journal can help you sort out thoughts and ideas and feel better as well as take a look back at what you’ve done which can be inspiration. If writer block is a problem, I’m a big fan of freewriting you set a timer for 5 minutes and just write non stop for that 5 minutes. Sure, you might find yourself writing a lot of nonsense but you might also find a few great gems of ideas in there as well.

  21. Add Some Greenery: You don’t have to have a green thumb to enjoy gardening. A few low maintenance house plants or doing some landscaping or even mowing the grass can all provide an outlet to escape the usual stress and help you clear your mind.

  22. Meditate: Spending some time to quietly reflect and clear your head can work wonders as well. Learning how to meditate can really make a big difference on your ability to

  23. Do a Puzzle: It doesnt matter if you do a jigsaw puzzle or a crossword puzzle. Puzzle solving is a great way to exercise your brain and help you get your mind off the more important things for a little while and help you relax.

  24. Laugh: There’s been proof that laughter is perhaps the best medicine and even good for you but it’s a good chance you’re not laughing enough. Next time everything goes wrong don’t start yelling laugh. Make sure you find something funny at least once a day. I try to do this with my totally pointless blog about stupid stuff.

  25. Get Your Frustrations Out: One of our biggest problems is we tend to bottle up emotions or feelings. It’s not intentionally usually, but the day to day aggravation can eventually make you feel like you might just snap. So go ahead and take some time at a batting cage or golf range, punch a pillow, or scream at the top of your lungs. You’ll feel better that you did!

Do you feel inspired yet? There’s a ton of things you can do that can instantly make you feel better and at peace with the world. Most aren’t hard to do – you just need to make sure you put things like these on your priority list right up there with “get dressed today” and “feed kids”. Giving yourself some space and time can help you move from feeling like you can’t get anything done to feeling like you can conquer all.

What we Want and What We Need has Been Confused

That title is a quote from Michael Stipe of the band REM in the song, Finest Worksong. Got two days off (post weekend) and I was thrilled about it.  I figured, here’s an eternity of time to get everything I need to get done, done!  Well, after the first day it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

A reminder that life is longer than we think sometimes.

I’ve done a lot today but a few things I did were really important and restorative.  Let me take you through them in hopes you find parallels for your next short time off:

Got up about 6am with the crying baby and the edgy 3 year old.  Took care of their needs.  Bottle, changed diapers, feed the older one, put their channel on.  The girls really wore me out this morning.  In searching for my “center” I found myself very distracted with their needs.  Not complaining mind you, just explaining that we can’t always get that time we have “off.”  I thought, maybe it is better to spend time with my girls that it is to space out in front of the computer all day.  So that wasn’t all bad.  Meanwhile, my 10 year old was sleeping in (LUCKY DOG!)

The rest of the day consisted in cleaning and preparing: preparing for lunch, dinner and cleaning the kitchen and TV room.  There is so much joy in a clean room.  All this stuff was like therapy for me.  Later on we went out by the pool and I pulled all the strange things out of the skimmer.  I came inside, had some pizza and watched a few shows on Rome.  Typical time at home eh?  I am sure it all was therapeutic, but my head still felt thick.  I knew my therapy needed one more step: relaxation.  I’d cleaned, prepared, read stories, made bottles, and much more but I hadn’t yet been able to JUST RELAX.  Do you ever have trouble just relaxing?  Well if that’s the case, remember to relax before it’s too late.  How did I relax?  I took a hot shower.  It revived my spirits.  When I got dried off I asked my wife to go out for dinner tonight … just us!  We spent all Sunday and Monday in the day with our kids and I figured we both deserved a break.

Point? My relaxing shower was great, but only after I had done the cleaning and preparation of the day.  I think one of the single most powerful tools of inspiration is cleaning.  Having said that, it should always be tempered with relaxation.  So what is your “thing” you can do today to relax your body and awaken your creativity?  Make sure you do that thing in concert with the other stuf “you know you gotta do.”  When you have that breakthrough, let us know!

Strength in the face of adversity . . .

Columbia, SC: Kershaw Co. man cuts off own arm

I read this story and was so inspired. Not because I’d like to cut my arm off, but it shows the capacity we have as humans to do what we have to do, however horrific, to survive. This article is truly an example of a possibility thinker in action.

KERSHAW COUNTY, SC (WIS) – A Kershaw County man is sharing his story of survival. He faced a life or death decision when his hand got stuck in a piece of farm equipment, and then a fire broke out around him. What he did next might shock you, and we have to warn you that some of the details might be disturbing.

Life is Short, Eat at the Buffet

This is from some time back, I can tell by the ages of my kids in the post. Life is indeed short. Anyway, I think it’s still a great diary entry so I’m putting it back out for you all today :) You’re welcome!

My son and I were driving home the other day and we were both starving with the dream of a local buffet we love. We called my wife and asked her if she was up for it. As it turned out, she was busy and not hungry so she gave us the green light to go on our own. Since my girls are almost 2 and 4, they are beautiful but often a big hassle to bring out. Needless to say, Dad and son were stoked to get a reprieve. We don’t get to do much alone just he and I.

I think it’s important for us humans to treat ourselves once in a while.

You and I recreate our minds and feed our mental energy when we eat, laugh, and love with those we care about. No need to be a “glutton” but good food and company with a good friend gives health to the soul! :)

As I ate my chocolate cake and sipped my coffee. My son told me all about the book he was reading. It’s moments like that you can’t describe the value of as a dad. I hope you have the means to go to a buffet soon with someone special. Life is too short to miss out on this stuff.

How to Make Acronyms for Personal Development

This post is about how I come up with acronyms for self-improvement. The process of making them can be challenging but it produces results!

This post is about self help / personal development. Or, specifically, how to make acronyms and use them for self-improvement. The process of making them can be challenging, but using them is easy and rewarding. At New Year’s cusp, people always think about resolutions but shouldn’t we be thinking about them all year long? Trying to reinvent ones self once every year can have some value but ongoing changes throughout the year yields greater results. I usually make my resolutions around August because that is where my teaching work year renews itself. Continuous improvement is what I strive for and I use self-invented acronyms to make it happen.

These funny little words really work!

There are many quality online personal development courses that attest to the power of acronyms. The reason I use acronyms is because they are easy to remember. Usually all goals can be narrowed down to three words. That’s the perfect length for an acronym. The word you create becomes your personal thing and you carry it with you while traveling toward your goals. This past new year’s eve I read about a great worksheet and used it to develop some of my goal words for the year. Check it out here.

The first three goals are your creation!

At the beginning of the process, write down three words you want to focus on. You might write many and narrow them down to the three best. For example, a horse trainer might list:

patience, people, volume

Each word has a lot of idiosyncratic meaning to the horse trainer. You can imagine what these three words might mean in a horse trainer’s life in contrast to that of say, a lawyer.

Next in the process come up with a three letter word you will use as your acronym. It doesn’t matter if it’s related to the three words you just chose or not, but you should find the imagery of the word pleasing. You may find this list of three letter words intended for Scrabble players useful. This is in a way the game of your life.

To illustrate these first 2 steps, let’s say the horse trainer chooses the goals listed above and then chooses the word “ACT” as his acronym.

That leads to the most fun and rewarding step in my opinion. It’s also the step that takes the most time. The step is to come up with three words that start with the letters A,C, and T. Each word should represent one of the word-meanings you came up with when you started the process ie; patience, people, volume.

This can take a lot of trial and error until you get it right but once you are done you “own” the acronym. Take this as a possibility:

Allow (patience)
Culture (people)
Tons (volume)

The words you assign to the acronym don’t have to be exactly the same meaning as your goals but they should have enough to do with the original goal for you to remember the goal when you recall the acronym.

Now the horse trainer can go to work thinking about his meaningful acronym “ACT.” He has given his job and life a more precise focus.

I chose nouns for this example, but you can choose action verbs as well.  A resource you might find useful is this list of action verbs by letter. You can even make up a sentence like “I will Always be patient,” where Always is the A part of the acronym. This is helpful when you just can’t think of a word to match the goal.

When it comes to personal development and self-improvement, I swear by my acronyms to improve memory and other stuff. I think once you give it a try, you will too. If you are a trainer or a mentor, acronyms can assist you greatly with your time management training program. On a last note, you should check out this make an acronym engine, it is helpful.