Inspiration—Power-Up Your Mood in 5 Steps

Webster’s defines the word “inspiration” as follows:  
something that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone

This is true, but there is more. Inspiration is a feeling too. Take a moment and think about something that inspires you or simply recall and imagine yourself inspired. What do you feel in your body?  Maybe a fullness in your chest, a tingling sensation, a feeling of excitement.. How do you imagine yourself sitting or standing when inspired? I am certain no one reading this is picturing themselves slumped over, right?  It is a power pose! Inspiration is, in fact, a great mood enhancer. It is a mood power-up if you will.Inspiration—Power-Up Your Mood in 5 Steps Elise Gaul

Seeking inspiration is a healthy mind practice—especially when you shift into lower gear and need a boost. Use it! Here is how..

1. Set an intention to seek inspiration every day (or every week).

2. Discover ways to get your daily/weekly inspiration power-up. Short readings, TED talks, quotes, the image of an inspiring person, music.. Some people get inspired during their morning exercise when they feel their physical strength most acutely.  Find a variety of sources.

3. Pay attention to how you feel physically as you experience inspiration. Hold onto that feeling a little longer. This enhances the effect.

4. Don’t judge whatever works for you. If you like Oprah, a walk in the woods, Vivaldi.. Seeking inspiration boosts mood and is indicative of a significant neurochemical effect. It is real!

5. Notice also when there is too much. If we get inspired from too many sources, we can actually get over-whelmed and in need of a break.  Keeping a healthy mind means knowing our limits and when we need to power-down too.

Benefits of a Mindful Mind

One trait of a healthy mind is the ability to pay attention and focus. When we are unable to focus and our mind is racing, we can feel overwhelmed, anxious, irritable, or even frozen. Meanwhile, we live in a culture that values busyness and multitasking. Our jobs are particularly demanding, and our electronic devices keep us hopping. How can we make this work? It’s simple– we can’t. It’s not sustainable because too much stress makes us sleepless, angry, unhappy, and eventually makes us ill. This is where mindfulness comes in.

Benefits of a Mindful Mind

Elise Gaul with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness means paying attention moment to moment. Basically, it means being able to perform the healthy mind skill of focusing attention. However, the benefits go way, way beyond improving attention (thanks to neuroplasticity). Research has shown that mindfulness practice benefits include:

  • Reducing rumination
  • Stress reduction
  • Boosting working memory
  • Decreasing emotional reactivity
  • Increasing cognitive flexibility
  • Increasing relationship satisfaction