By Karin Volo
Inspiration comes in many forms and from many sources. Let’s keep it simple. When you choose to be on a quest to find inspiring information, you can really change the way you look at the world.
I’ve learned on my journey that we need to be discerning about the information we take in, especially the visual images and what we read. It’s a concept I call “Feed Your Brain,” because like all things, we must nuture to grow and be the best versions of ourselves.
If you are constantly bombarded by negative news, images, and information, it brings you down. It’s hard not to be depressed by that. And our mainstream media thrives on bad news. As they say, if it “bleeds, it leads”. Defaulting to our fear based instincts worked back in the cave days when our lives depended on paying attention to the threats of our environment. It was our survival instincts that kicked in and kept us alive.
Our societies have moved on from this. However, our automatic reactions haven’t—unless you actively work on it. When you become aware that most things are not a threat to your survival, you can choose to respond from an entirely different perspective. You can recondition your brain to look at what’s going well, instead of always looking at what is going wrong or could go wrong.
This brings me back to our quest for inspiration and joy. Here are 11 easy tips to change your mindset and start to recondition your brain so that you can have an inspiring life:
1) Stop watching the news. Read the paper or news online. It’s easier to skim headlines and choose to take in what is of interest to you. Choose to read good news instead. Imagine that any information you take in is like food for your brain. Feed your brain inspiring and positive things and you will feel so much better!
2) Spend time in nature. Get connected to the natural beauty that is abundant in our world. Walk barefoot whenever you can, this is called “earthing” and studies show that just a few minutes a day connecting to the earth this way helps reduce stress and lowers blood pressure. It actually helps get your electromagnetic resonance in tune with the earth.
3) Pay full attention when having a conversation. Often we listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. We are thinking about the next thing we are going to say instead of truly listening and understanding what the person is saying to us. Practice conscious listening and you’ll feel a difference in the connection and relationship.
4) Know what inspires you – and then act on it. If reading books makes you feel good, do it. Going to conferences, do it. Listening to good music and dancing like a manic in the privacy of your home, then DO IT! Whatever you love to do, put these things into your daily life.
5) Laugh, laugh, and laugh more. Laughter is the best medicine. It raises your energy, makes you feel good, and releases endorphins, helps you deal with stress, breaks up the tension…the list of benefits goes on forever with this one. Watching babies laughing on youtube is one of my favorites here. Just don’t take life so seriously anymore. It’s all going to work out for the highest good for you.
6) Be aware of how you are feeling. Using the Joyometer (www.Joyometer.com) is a great tool to help you check in on a regular basis to monitor your feelings throughout the day. If you can stay in the positive emotions coming from love 51% of the time on a minimum, you’ll be bringing your dreams and goals into your life.
7) Choose love over fear. All of us have a choice in how we respond to circumstances and situations. Instead of allowing our survival instincts to drive our lives, we can pause and ask, how can this situation serve me? What can I learn here? What would be the best response? You may never have control over circumstances, but when you understand that always have control over how you respond, you become very empowered. You become the creator of your life instead of the “victim” of circumstances.
8) Surround yourself with supporters. It is said that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Often times, we have some of our toughest relationships that serve to bring us the greatest lessons. Be aware of who you spend time with most—are they living the life you desire to experience? Are they giving you energy, or do you feel drained just by spending time with them? You can minimize the time spent with those energy drainers (I call them energy vampires because they suck your energy out of you) and make an effort to find those who make you feel happy, inspired, and joyful.
9) Do what you love to do. The great equalizer in life is time—we all only have 24 hours in a day. If you aren’t doing work you love, you are not living fully. Figure out your passions. Know your values. Discover your true purpose. And then find work that allows you to express that. Our work is an extension of ourselves, it is our opportunity to create and bring into this world our talents and gifts that no one else has.
10) Be playful and imaginative. As children, we have wonderful imaginations and know how to play. As we grow up, we lose that sense of playfulness. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Richard Branson is willing to dress up as a flight attendant on a dare. What can you do to bring more playfulness into your life? And spending time day dreaming is a great use of your time. Every man-made object in this world first started as a thought in someone’s mind. Dream about the life you want to have and the experiences you desire. Before you know it, you’ll be living it!
11) Practice gratitude. All successful people have a high degree of appreciation for life. They are able to take the challenges and see the opportunities that lie within them. When you focus on what is going well by using gratitude, you can shift your mindset and get yourself to a positive frame of mind. For every complaint, come up with 3 good things to counter balance the situation. All situations serve us on some level so look for the lessons and move on.
You have the power and everything you need within yourself to be the best that you can be. Get inspired and you’ll inspire others too. So what is your next step?
Karin Volo, an expert in engagement,career, personal and organizational development, is known as the Chief
Joy Bringer. She is a co-author of the international best selling book, Engage! With 15+ years experience
working with international Fortune 500 companies on two continents, she has insights on business
building, cultural transformation, and high performance. Karin works with cultural development, employee engagement, leadership mentoring, professional inspirational speaking and writing. She uses her professional skills and draws from her personal experiences to help individuals and companies thrive. She is the best selling author of 1,352 Days: An Inspirational Journey From Jail To Joy, the Bringing Joy children’s series, a regular
blogger on Huffington Post, a faculty member at the Institute for Inspired Organizational Cultures,
and an expert judge on employee engagement in both the UK and the US. Karin’s passion is helping people better their lives through sharing all she has learned on her own journey. Her purpose is bringing joy to the workplace.