Feeling uninspired? This happens at times, but you can get your creative juices flowing again following some easy steps.
You’ve probably experienced moments when a new thought appears out of nowhere.
During this moment of inspiration, you may feel excited and find the motivation to create new things, solve problems, or pursue goals.
But if inspiration isn’t happening as much as it used to, it can make you feel stuck in a cycle of frustration and self-doubt.
If you are feeling this way, you’re not alone. Even the most successful people have difficulty finding inspiration or identifying what inspires them.
Your ability to be inspired isn’t gone forever, but it may need a bit of encouragement to appear once again.
Derived from the Latin word “inspirare,” meaning to “breathe into,” inspiration is the feeling of being mentally stimulated to manifest what we want to create.
Being inspired can give you the ideas and desire you need to:
- solve complex problems
- develop something new and exciting
- change directions in your life
Inspiration embodies positive thinking and awareness of the possibilities. It’s free of limitations and represents pure, spontaneous thought.
How is inspiration linked to mental health?
When something inspires you, your motivation and excitement can increase. This, in turn, can lead to:
- improved clarity
- higher energy levels
- more creativity
Feeling inspired can elevate your mood and contribute to a positive outlook and general sense of well-being.
Persistently feeling uninspired and unmotivated can be a sign of low mood or a symptom of depression.
If you have felt unmotivated and hopeless for more than 2 weeks, it might be a good idea to talk with a mental health professional.
Sometimes finding inspiration isn’t about actively pursuing it but allowing it to find you.
For example, you may recall inspiration hitting you at the most unexpected times, like while driving or in the shower. Most likely, those were times you permitted thoughts to manifest naturally without conscious effort.
Strategies that may allow inspiration into your life include:
1. Changing things up
Exploring new locations or just getting out of the house can help with creative ideas.
According to one 2021 study, gazing at aesthetically pleasing artwork may help spur inspiration. So, it might be worth adding a trip to an art museum to your list of new things to do.
Switching routines or doing something you’ve never done before can also help you with creativity.
“Exploration is a wonderful way to open our eyes to the world, and to truly see that impossible is just a word.”
— Richard Branson, entrepreneur
2. Journaling your ideas
Inspiration may occur if you spend some time allowing your thoughts to flow without limitations.
For example, try to give yourself the freedom to jot down any idea or goal that comes to mind without thinking about the challenges they present or worrying much about the how.
If you’re having a hard time letting it flow, try using writing prompts to spark that creative energy.
“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.”
— Earl Nightingale, former American radio speaker and author
3. Immersing yourself in nature
Nature provides an environment for letting go of intrusive thoughts and worries, allowing creativity to flow. Consider taking a stroll through a park or visiting a community garden to help ignite your inspiration.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
— Albert Einstein, German physicist and developer of the theory of relativity
4. Remembering who you are
How do you know what inspires you? By connecting to yourself and what matters to you.
Feeling uninspired about life may be a result of focusing on things that may not align with your true self or life purpose. Perhaps you’ve lost touch with activities you were once passionate about, or you’ve left some of your dreams behind.
If this resonates with you, consider taking some time to reacquaint yourself with what used to inspire you or activities you once enjoyed.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
— Steve Jobs, co-founder and former chairman of Apple Computer Inc.
5. Working on your self-esteem
When you aren’t feeling positive about yourself or tend to self-sabotage, you may less likely feel inspired. Self-respect is critical to inspiration.
If so, consider learning ways to boost your feelings of self-worth, overcome impostor syndrome, or manage self-doubt so inspiration can flow.
“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
— Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch painter and artist
6. Asking yourself, ‘What would I do if fear wasn’t a factor?’
Fear is a natural human emotion. When it shows up, inspiration may not have a safe place to land in your thought process.
So, by allowing yourself to brainstorm ideas without fear or judgment, you may find that new concepts flow more freely.
“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”
— George Addair, minister and founder of the Omega Vector Foundation
7. Surrounding yourself with inspiring people
Inspiration can be contagious. Consider being around people who are experiencing a creative flow state.
If you have difficulty finding inspirational people, you could try joining online communities or local organizations with folks who share your interests.
Negativity can also be contagious. So, it may be beneficial to avoid people who consistently discourage your creativity.
“Do not allow people to dim your shine because they are blinded. Tell them to put some sunglasses on.”
— Lady Gaga, American singer
8. Eliminating the pressure to be inspired
Inspiration naturally ebbs and flows. Consider acknowledging that you’re currently in an uninspired state and allowing yourself time for those brilliant thoughts to appear naturally.
It’s natural to feel uninspired at times or not know what inspires you. Try to leave judgment or guilt out of the process. If inspiration is shy at the moment, it might be a good time to focus on some practical tasks in the meantime.
“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens.”
— Mandy Hale, New York Times best-selling author
Inspiration often appears when you least expect it. Therefore, cultivating inspiration may require allowing it to occur naturally through immersing yourself in nature, visiting new places, or being around inspiring people.
It can also involve a little soul searching to rediscover your passions or managing any self-esteem challenges or fears.
Inspiration may come and go, but it never goes away entirely. Sometimes, all it takes is a little patience and allowing your mind to wander a bit for inspiring thoughts to make an appearance again.
“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American philosopher, poet, and abolitionist