We are bombarded with messages from the moment our eyes open until we are resting in bed. More than half the time we are enabling these messages to have access to our lives and personal spaces (let’s face it, we’re all guilty of reaching for the phone first thing in the morning, and laying it on a night stand –or even a pillow!– before turning in for the night). We consume without knowing, but mindless consumption is doing us no favors.
Our world is shaped, consciously and subconsciously, by what we see. Our eyes are the gateways to our souls, I’m told, and yet we keep them open to everything. So I want to know, how have you been feeling lately? Because I’m betting that if you’re not still inspired by people, by views, by kindness, by triumph over adversity, by underdogs, by innocence… than you’re not tuning into the right channels.
With the information overload that faces all of us, I’ve had to be more selective about what access I allow into my life. Doing so has made all the difference in how I see the world, which is still hopeful even in situations that seem hopeless. It has also kept me inspired even in times when it seems impossible to be. If you are feeling down or out or not enough, I encourage you to seek first to clear the clutter of what you allow into your space. No one is going to force you to be inspired or place inspiration in front of you. You have to clear the path and be intentional about getting inspiration in your life daily. Here are some tips to keep you on the sunny side of life:
1. Limit Your Intake
I found myself in a spiral of dark thoughts surrounding the daily stream of national news that seems to be a spiral of things are bad, and a revolving door of commentary meant to trigger emotional responses. Bait and click, except that we’re seeing it so much it’s draining. I found a lot more stability in choosing a couple news outlet round ups to work through in the morning, and then shutting it down for the rest of the day. For me, it’s important to know what’s happening in the world, but I don’t need to be seeped in it. I want to be intentional about making space for more inspiration.
2. Be Intentional About Good News
I still have friends and colleagues who tag me on good news stories they find on social media, because they know we do the 28 Days of Kindness project in February, and all year round that Facebook account is a amplifier for good news stories. But I also follow other positive accounts like SoulPancake, who’s mission is to share stories that matter. And I have positive accounts like this set to show up first in my Facebook feed. So before I know about everything terrible that’s happening, I see a video of a kid who likes to hand out meals to the homeless, or a nurse who went above and beyond her job to care for someone, or a story about surviving impossible odds. These stories bring me back to life. I want more of them. They change my perspective. But if I didn’t follow these accounts and adjust my Facebook settings, I wouldn’t see them.
3. Find People Who Inspire You
It’s so easy to get caught up in a cycle of thinking that everything is going wrong. You need a support network of people who can always tell you otherwise. You could also use a couple people who will listen without judgement. Don’t be so hard on yourself, and we often are our own worst critic. But again, the chances of inspiration just falling into your lap are slim (not impossible, but yes slim). So I encourage you to seek out opportunities to connect with people doing good work. This could be anything from joining in a volunteer activity in your neighborhood, to stepping out to check out a Meetup group. Whatever it is that inspires you (hikes, photography, movies, good food, a great book, time with friends), seek that out instead of mindlessly getting caught in the world of constant information. Find ways to get more of that in your life. Make that a priority.
4. Take A Break
I know people who have logged off of social media for a month, or for a season, or have logged off for good and have never come back. I know people who have downsized the number of accounts they have. There are some that have removed pop-up notifications on their phones, and others who have deleted social apps all together. Where do you fall when it comes to taking a break from the constant flow of information and updates from around your world? Realize that it is not expected for you to always be in this online space. Realize also that many of our social media habits eat at our time, our energy, our attention, our ability to be present. By taking some actions to lesson the amount of media we have in our lives, we create the space to be in the moment, to maybe go for a walk instead of sit inside, to call up a friend, to contemplate things.
Remember, you’re in charge of finding meaning, purpose, and inspiration daily in your life. So be intentional about what you read, view and how you spend your time.