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25 Simple Things You Can Do To Get Inspired

25 Simple Things You Can Do To Get Inspired

We all feel uninspired at times. The good news is that it’s a natural part of the creative process and something everyone struggles with. The next time you’re stuck in a creative dead zone, read this list of 25 things you can do to get inspired.

1. Change Your Environment

Get out of the house and go somewhere new. A new environment can spark inspiration by giving you a new way of looking at things.

2. Learn Something New

Get outside the boundaries of your own knowledge to learn something new. Learn ten words in a foreign language, research the music of 17th century Europe or pick up a star chart and learn about our universe.

3. Create a Vision Board

Think about what you want for your life and start envisioning it. Collect pictures and words that depict this life and bring them together in a vision board.

4. Get Back to Nature

Take some time out in nature and appreciate its amazing beauty. Go for a hike through the bush, climb a mountain or simply have a picnic by the pond in your local park.

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5. Visit Your Local Bookstore

Bookstores are full of creative inspiration. Spend some time browsing the shelves and get inspired by the beautiful images and interesting ideas.

6. Try a New Creative Art Form

Push yourself outside the bounds of your creative specialty and try something new. If you’re a writer, try painting. If you’re a musician, write a poem.

7. Keep a Notebook to Jot Down Ideas

Keep a notebook with you to jot down ideas whenever they strike. These ideas might not seem ground breaking at the time but they might serve as inspiration at a later date.

8. Learn About the History of Your Craft

Learn about how your creative craft originated, who the pioneers and greats were and how it has progressed over time. In every craft’s history, there is much inspiration to be found.

9. Research What Others in Your Field Are Doing

Learn about what other people in your creative field are doing. A quick Google search can be a great source of inspiration when you are low on ideas.

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10. Listen to a New Type of Music

Seek out music that is different to what you usually listen to and try it out. What about jazz, classical or rap?

11. Try Meditating

Take some time to sit, be still and breathe. Our busy lives can sometimes leave us so frantic that it can be difficult to get inspired. By taking the time out to meditate, you’ll give your brain a chance to refresh.

12. Follow Ten People Who Inspire You on Twitter

We’ve all got creative idols. Go follow yours on Twitter and get inspired every day by their musings.

13. Give Yourself the Gift of Time

Don’t rush yourself. Give yourself a day to just be and do whatever comes to you. You might be surprised at the inspiration that strikes when you least expect it.

14. Read an Inspiring Blog Post

Visit your favorite bloggers and read an inspiring post. There’s nothing like a few powerful words to spark your inspiration.

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15. Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

It’s easy to get stuck in a routine. Try something you’ve never done before that pushes you out of your comfort zone. By breaking the routine of your daily life, you’ll encourage the flow of ideas.

16. Watch a Great Film

There’s something powerful about a great film that can really get you thinking. Pick out a great film and absorb it fully.

17. Read an Autobiography of Someone You Admire

Reading about the life of someone you admire can be greatly inspiring. Hearing about their struggles and triumphs can inspire you in your own work.

18. Google Creativity Quotes Online

The words of others can be powerful and inspirational. Google creativity quotes and pick out ten that you find inspiring. Keep them in your journal and read them whenever you need a boost.

19. Journal Your Thoughts

Journaling can be a powerful release and spark creative inspiration both now and in the future. Your journal is your special space to be open and free with your words, letting what is within shine through.

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20. Ask Someone Their Greatest Life Lessons

Seeking the wisdom of others can be incredibly inspiring. Ask someone you admire what the greatest lessons they have learned so far, you might just find a nugget of gold in there.

21. Watch an Inspiring TED Talk

There are so many inspiring TED talks just waiting to be watched. From science to art, history to technology, whatever your creative thing is, there is a TED talk to inspire you.

22. Read One of the Classics

The classics are rightly named for a reason. Google ‘classic books’ and pick one to read this week.

23. Experiment With Your Materials Without Pressure

Sit with your materials, experiment and create whatever comes to mind without the pressure of deadlines or achieving a particular outcome. The process of experimentation is liberating and can spark some amazing ideas.

24. Ask Your Creative Friends About their Projects

Hearing about other people’s creative projects can be incredibly inspiring. Ask your creative friends what they have been up to and get inspired by their enthusiasm and ideas.

25. Start Before the Inspiration Strikes

Sometimes to get inspired, you just need to start! Inspiration comes from doing, so get your materials out and start creating!

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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