How To Tap Into Inspiration When You’re Feeling Less Than Enthusiastic

Have you ever had a day when you’ve felt less than enthusiastic? You know you want to get on with something or another, perhaps you want to eat healthily, or you want to feel better than you do, but somehow you just don’t feel inspired. Yesterday was one such day. I didn’t feel like writing, I didn’t feel like reading, and I certainly didn’t feel like cooking dinner… never mind cooking something delicious and healthy.

(c) Masson| Dollarphotoclub

(c) Masson| Dollarphotoclub

So, what to do when you find yourself feeling like you’re struggling to even get going?

Well, thankfully, inspiration is a state of being, and this means that it can be readily accessible, because we have the ability to change our state of being, at will.

Seth Godin says, “Waiting for inspiration is another way of saying that you’re stalling. You don’t wait for inspiration, you command it to appear.” Yes, I can see myself in the middle of the kitchen, wooden spoon in hand, commanding inspiration – wait, no, the entire meal – to appear, haha!

I’m being cheeky. But here’s the thing. Changing your state gets you into a frame of mind which enables you to access inspiration, whether it’s dinner inspiration you need or other things you want to be get on with.

  1. Just start. It’s easy to sit around waiting for inspiration to strike. But just starting gets the juices flowing – literally. There have been many times when I’ve been in the kitchen, looking in the fridge with seemingly nothing to eat for dinner, but then, taking just one thing out of the fridge gets it going. Then I get another ingredient and then another, and before I know it, the idea comes for a lovely “throw together” dinner. It’s a little bit slower with writing, for me, but it works all the same. My author friend, Mark Forster, whose first book was, Get Everything Done And Still Have Time To Play, called this, “Just get the file out,” while Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Workweek, has a similar approach, advocating flossing just one tooth. So, get going and the flow begins.
  2. Tune into what moves you. Inspiration has a momentum all of its own. You may have noticed that when you’re doing something that you enjoy, just for its own sake, the inspiration and flow happens of its own accord. But there are also times when we have tasks to do that don’t really inspire. What to do then? Firstly, tune in to what other activities do inspire you and get into the groove of that. For example, you might love listening to certain music. If so, put that on and then get on with the task at hand. I find that I am better able to get certain things done (like writing this article), when I’m in a cafe, rather than on my own in my home office. So I’ll usually go down to my local coffee shop, or if not, I’ll turn to Coffitivity, an app that creates cafe sounds, to help me get into that space.
  3. Get some fresh air. Being outdoors and into some fresh air really helps to blow away the cobwebs. Sunlight and natural beauty make your mind more receptive. It allows you to relax and when you are in a relaxed state, ideas come, which is why many people often have their best inspiration when they’re in the shower. So grab yourself a sliver of time and get outside for a breath of air, and allow inspiration to come of its own accord.
  4. Express gratitude. Instead of focusing on what’s not happening and how uninspired you’re feeling, take your mind off it and focus instead on expressing gratitude. However we describe inspiration, it usually has something to do with transcending our ordinary experiences. Gratitude gets your brain into a different mode, allowing you to access the creative side more easily. Pick something you tend to take for granted and look at it from a different perspective. For example, you can feel thankful for the rain, or even the lack of inspiration because that enables you to really appreciate the feeling of being inspired when it comes!
  5. Meditate and/or pray. Many people associate inspiration with their spiritual practices. Schedule time each day to read something that touches your heart. Talk with others about how you connect with the divine. Develop a daily meditation practice. It has been said that every thought is a prayer – whatever you think is a form of prayer that you are sending out to the Universe. Why not take a few moments to ponder your thoughts and consciously choose them.

So, the next time you find yourself in that space where you just don’t feel like it, try one of these five strategies and see what inspiration arises.

Question: What ways do you use to get inspired? Come on over and share your answer on Facebook.

Good Things Happen To Me Everyday

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Make this Your Super Self-Care Month

It’s September and here in the UK, we are definitely seeing and feeling the change in seasons. The light has changed and it’s cooler. As the time approaches for the squirrels to hummer down, it feels like we are gently winding down into more snuggly weather and nurturing self.

Why is it important to nurture and take super care of yourself? Many people, especially women, feel guilty at the thought of looking after and putting themselves first….after all, is this not being selfish?

Consider the distinction between “selfishness” and “healthy selfishness”. To be selfish is to be concerned about your own personal profit or pleasure without consideration for others. To be healthily selfish, on the other hand, is to do something totally for yourself in the full knowledge that in so doing you are being considerate of others.

Here’s an example. Jill knows that her partner hates ironing. So she decides to iron his shirts for him, but in return, she expects him to do something else for her, and should he not do so, she begins to resent the fact that she is “always doing his ironing for him and he doesn’t do anything for her”. Jane’s partner also hates ironing. She chooses to do his ironing for him because she feels good, in the knowledge that she will be giving him pleasure at his not having to iron his own shirts. She doesn’t do it all of the time, but whenever she feels like she’d like to. She loves the pleasure she feels when he is delighted at discovering that his shirts have been ironed. Do you see the difference?

We cannot give away that which we do not have. We can only give away from a full cup. When you’re tired and feeling lousy, and a friend phones up for some support, how much can you really be there for her or him? If you don’t look after your own well-being, can you genuinely take best care of someone else in your family? You cannot give the best of yourself to others without putting yourself first and taking care of yourself first.

Remember those occasions when you felt really good about yourself and everyone else and everything else in your world was just great and nothing could possibly go wrong? That’s the benefit that Super Self-Care brings you on a regular basis.

In what ways do you currently take care of yourself? How are you putting yourself first… nourishing yourself?

Make a list of as many different ways that you can think of in which you can take super self-care. Here are some ideas to start you off:

  • go for a walk in the park and feed the ducks
  • have a massage
  • drink lots of water each day
  • have a relaxing (or invigorating!) bath
  • relax with some music that makes you feel good
  • take some exercise
  • stretch
  • breathe deeply
  • have an early night
  • ring an old friend up just to talk

Make Super Self-Care a priority, and observe what differences show up in your life; in the way you relate with others, and in the way you feel about yourself.

Have a wonderful month being healthily selfish, putting yourself first for all the right reasons.

Much love.

x

The 10-Day Negative Thought Fast

There’s no question. How we think affects affects our health. It affects how we feel affects the decisions we make affects the actions we take… or don’t take… affects the very energy or vibration (or vibe) of you. If you have ever picked up the vibes from just entering a room and somehow knowing that “something” had gone on just before you entered the room, even though you hadn’t seen or heard any of the conversation, then you know what I’m talking about.

Those vibes can be quite tangible at times. You can get a clear sense of it, even if you can’t pick it up via any one of your five senses. Now imagine being immersed in such energy all day long. That’s exactly what is happening in your body.

[Tweet “Every single cell is eavesdropping on every single thought you have and this has a profound effect on your health”]

For example, did you know that cancer is anger unexpressed? You see, it’s not about never having a “negative” thought or feeling, but how you use it as a positive message and then transmute it into something that is empowering and positive. Intuitively, we know that positive thoughts and emotions have a high energy or vibration and negative thoughts and emotions have a low vibration. We say things like, “I’m feeling low today,” or “I was on a high after getting the good news.”

Candace Pert, author of Molecules of Emotion, says:

…the emotions are the link between the physical body and the non-physical states of consciousness, and the receptors on every cell are where this happens. The attracting vibration is the emotion, and the actual connection – peptide to receptor – is the manifestation of the feeling in the physical world…

What we experience as a ‘feeling’ is the actual vibrational dance that goes on as the peptides bind to the receptors, whether it happens in your conscious awareness or not. Below what we notice happening, a huge amount of emotionally mediated information is being exchanged throughout the body and the brain, much of which never rises into our consciousness. This is why I say: “Your body is your subconscious mind.

What is the nature of your thoughts? Are they mostly positive? One way to tell is to gauge how you’re feeling. What you think is how you feel and because the two are so inextricably linked, how you feel affects how you think and then how you think affects how you feel affects how you think and so on. You see?

In its research paper, Science of the Heart: Exploring the Role of the Heart in Human Performance, the HeartMath Research Centre reported:

It became clear that negative emotions lead to increased disorder in the heart’s rhythms and in the autonomic nervous system, thereby adversely affecting the rest of the body. In contrast, positive emotions create increased harmony and coherence in heart rhythms and improve balance in the nervous system. The health implications are easy to understand: Disharmony in the nervous system leads to inefficiency and increased stress on the heart and other organs while harmonious rhythms are more efficient and less stressful to the body’s systems.

Translating this into everyday health terms, it means:

  • Longer life span
  • Less stress
  • Greater resilience
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Better sleep
  • Increased resistance to the common cold
  • Better stress management and coping skills
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease-related death
  • Increased physical well-being
  • Better psychological health

Remember, every single cell is eavesdropping on every single thought you have and this has a profound effect on your health.

So, what is your balance of thought and emotion?

Most of us don’t really know, because most of the time, we’re quite unconscious of how we’re thinking. You know, you can be worrying over something and not even realise that you’ve been worrying until you’ve been at it for a while. Truth is, it’s not about never having a “negative” thought again – it’s about recognising them, then understanding what the underlying message is, then pivoting them around to more empowering and supportive thoughts which change your state of being, allowing you to make more empowered decisions.

Someone I work with started off our conversation with, “My stomach feels like a stone right now,” and “I don’t know…”. After working with her on pivoting her thoughts, I asked, “Do you feel complete on this now?” to which she replied, “Yes, I really do. It’s amazing how sick I felt earlier and now feel strong.” She then went on to take specific action from a strong empowered base, rather than her initial position of not knowing what to do.

This is where the 10-day Negative Thought Fast comes in.

Are you up for the challenge?

You’ll find that your life can truly be exceptional when you focus on positive solutions rather than the constraints of your challenges.

This 10-Day Negative Thought Fast was originated by Emmett Fox, one of the most popular self-help authors and speakers of the early 20th century. It’s a challenge and adventure from which you stand to reap numerous benefits.

Here’s how to play this game:

  • If you break any of the other rules, you must start the 10 days over from the beginning. To get the full effect, you must complete 10 consecutive days. This is to stretch you. As Oliver Wendell-Holmes said, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
  • You cannot focus on a negative thought or remain in a negative emotional state for more than five minutes. Ideally, the time should be much shorter. Five minutes should be plenty of time to recognise what’s going on and put a stop to it. Remember, even one instance of lingering for more than five minutes means starting over. And if you don’t know how long you’ve been indulging in negative thoughts, that’s OK, just decide how you’d like to carry on.
  • You must focus on solutions. When the negative thoughts start, the idea is to immediately start contemplating possible solutions. Spend your time solving your challenges instead of focusing on them.

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably had the same challenges for quite a while without resolution. So why not try something else instead of dwelling on what’s wrong?

This sounds deceptively easy, but you may surprise yourself with how difficult it might be to give up negativity. We tend to think that worrying helps in some way. But you’ve probably been worrying about a lot of things for a long time and they haven’t improved. Oh, and what about those things you’d been worrying about which never came to be? Haha!

When you’re faced with a negative thought (and there might well be many!), first ask, “What might be the positive message underlying this?”The point is to immediately begin focusing on solutions. When you ask a better question, you’ll receive better answers.

Over the 10 days, you’ll begin to form a habit of immediately recognising a negative mental state and then focusing on solutions for what you feel negatively about. If you continue the process after the 10 days are completed, you’ll have stretched your mind and developed a new habit that will only require a minimal amount of maintenance.

You might need several attempts to complete the full 10 days. That’s OK! It’s common to have numerous slips on day one and then a few others later in the process. Don’t go beating yourself up over it, ok. Remember, you’re stretching your mind, changing your norm, so just as a baby learning to walk, cut yourself the same slack.

Try this 10-day adventure and see if it doesn’t change your life. You’ll be so amazed at the results that you’ll never want to go back to the old way of dwelling on the challenges in your life. So start this today, change your life for the better and let me know how you get on.

Much love to you.

Are You Broken or Are You Beautiful?

We were in Barcelona this last weekend. The weather was just amazing – bright blue skies and sunshine and it almost felt like summer. Just perfect for Gaudi.

Gaudi was a renowned Spanish architect, and his works are nothing short of astounding. If you don’t know his work, then you must check it out. The picture you see here in this post is a photo I took of just a little piece of Parc Guell. What do you see?

Do you see beauty? Or do you see “broken”?

Not so many years ago, I would see “broken”. So many of us are conditioned to think this way. We have somehow learned to see ourselves as too fat, needing to lose weight, not clever enough, not good enough, thinking we should be one way or another, lacking in some way… seldom appreciating how we are and who we are, overlooking and not even recognising our own talents and gifts.

But what does this have to do with health? Or finding your optimal weight?

Everything. Mm-hmm, that’s right. Everything.

Our entire system is connected – our mind, body and spirit. Our cells eavesdrop on our every single thought and our every internal conversation. This means that every single thought you have has an impact on your body. When we put ourselves down, we make an enemy of ourselves. Our body recognises “enemy” and turns on our stress response.

So let’s pause for a moment and think about it. If you came across your fierce neighbour’s dog who looks as if he’s ready to have your guts for garters, what would you do? Run for your life, right? And in order to be able to run for your life, what would you body need? Yep, it would need energy in your extremities – your arms and your legs – in order to be able to get away as quickly as possible. The hormone, cortisol, otherwise known as the “stress hormone”, is released and curbs functions that would not be essential or detrimental in such fight-or-flight situations. Our immune system is suppressed (we don’t need to use our energy or effort in healing, we just need to get the hell out of there!), our digestive system is suppressed, as are our growth processes. This translates to the reduced ability to put on muscle and increased storage of fat. And that’s just the physical side of it, never mind the impact on our emotional self.

Now just think what the implications of an ongoing stress response being activated in our body would be.

[Tweet “We have desensitised ourselves to messages from our body, telling us we need to rest and relax.”]

Remember the times you’ve dismissed tiredness and ploughed on? Aha, yes. Now add in all those internal conversations and negative self-talk and boom, just like that, you have low level ongoing stress response.

How do you feel when someone criticises you? Yet so many of us are willing to do exactly that to ourselves. We see the “broken” instead of the beautiful.

Well, now, you’re in a prime position to actually do something about it – only if you so choose, of course. And I hope you do choose. Start with self-awareness. Each time you catch yourself putting yourself down, just notice. Then practice finding something good you can recognise and acknowledge yourself for.

This simple every day act has a cumulative effect, adding to your ability to reach your optimal weight as well as improving your health at a profound level.

Are you broken or are you beautiful? The choice is truly yours.