8 Ways to Find Inspiration Despite Chronic Pain

Staying positive is oftentimes an uphill battle for chronic pain sufferers. Filling your life with inspiration wherever you can find it can ease the effort, though. Like any new activity, finding inspiration at first takes a little effort. But soon, you’ll know just where to go for an uplifting boost.

Once you start looking, you’ll find that inspiration is all around. Here are a few places to get started.

1. Instagram

This social media platform allows you to connect with like-minded individuals and follow inspiration givers. Find and follow users through hashtags such as #inspiration or #dailyquote. Hashtags are pound signs followed by a word of description and are intended to help you find related posts.

You could also find people living with your specific condition by searching for the condition’s hashtag—#fibromyalgia, for example.

On Instagram, many people chronicle their journeys while managing chronic pain through exercise and nutrition. One popular person doing this is @masumi_g, a former Wall Street analyst-turned yoga lover who suffers from an autoimmune disease and frequent painful flare-ups. She manages her condition through a macrobiotic diet and exercise, posting about her struggles and triumphs along the way.

Instagram requires downloading a free app and creating an account, but you don’t have to post pictures unless you want to. After creating the account, simply find other users through hashtags and follow the ones you find interesting. Filling your feed with inspirational quotes, beautiful pictures, and photos from other chronic pain warriors looking to stay positive gives you access to a quick pick-me-up anytime you feel down.

2. Pinterest

Pinterest is another social media platform available on your computer or smart phone. On this platform, you open an account and then create boards, which function like virtual bulletin boards. Each board has a separate category. Pinterest defines the categories, but the platform offers a large number.

For inspiration purposes, you might create boards for humor, health and fitness, quotes, or travel. Find images by clicking on a category name or typing a word into the search box.

When scrolling through pictures, clicking “Pin it” will add the image to your personal board. Over time, you’ll collect inspirational images that speak directly to you, available for perusing through anytime you’d like. Finding new inspirational images is a fun, uplifting way to spend your time. Beware, it can be addicting!

3. Explore nature

Connecting with the world outside, walking in the soft grass, feeling the sun shine down on your skin, watching the clouds roll by in a blue sky, or searching for stars at night helps to refresh your spirit and find inspiration for living a positive life.

Spending time in nature not only improves your mood, but it also makes you feel more alive, according to studies published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. Lead researcher and psychology professor at the University of Rochester Richard Ryan says:

“Nature is fuel for the soul.”

According to Ryan, not only does relaxing outside help boost your energy and mood, but it helps people build their resilience to physical ailments. For optimal impact, try spending at least 20 minutes a day outside.

Ways to increase your time in nature include taking a walk around the block, visiting a nearby park, or simply relaxing in your backyard.

4. Play

Goofing off is frequently considered the province of children, but continuing to play in adult years has been shown to help people think more positively and increase their mood. Modern society values productivity and accomplishments more than hanging out and having fun, but pleasure is an important component to a happy and inspired life, according to PsychCentral.

Time spent playing leads to inspiration and joy. Psychiatrist Stuart Brown defines play as activity that’s “purposeless, fun, and pleasurable.” Whatever activity meets those criteria for you is play. Play might be walking your dog, knitting, reading, or dancing around your living room.

When playing, try to do activities that don’t involve technology since they tend to be passive and not as rejuvenating as losing yourself in an activity that stimulates your senses. Enjoy playing and finding inspiration.

5. Find inspirational stories

Seek out tales of people who have overcome adversity to achieve remarkable things. Even if the person wasn’t managing chronic pain, reading stories about people who have triumphed despite all odds is a surefire path to inspiration.

Start here by reading about seven celebrities who live with chronic pain. The Huffington Post also publishes inspiring stories of people who have persevered despite tragedy and loss.

Watching inspirational movies is another wonderful way to escape reality for an hour or two and rekindle the feeling that good things are coming. Here is a list of 35 inspirational movies to get you started.

6. Travel

Stuck in a rut? Consider taking a daylong or weekend trip to a new place or your happy place. You might visit the ocean, drive along your favorite mountaintop vista, or explore a new city.

Exploring new places jolts your mind out of familiarity, taking your thoughts away from your worries. Seeking different scenery refreshes the spirit and can rekindle your enthusiasm for life.

If you don’t have the time or resources to leave town, even exploring a part of your city that you rarely visit can open the mind in new ways. Bonus tip: Say hello to a stranger. Dr. Sanjay Gupta says that one simple word can fight loneliness.

7. Meet a friend

Connecting with others, exchanging new ideas, catching up on the latest gossip, or laughing over lunch feeds the soul and is a sure-fire way to get inspired.

Even though few things are as rejuvenating as enjoying time with friends, carving that time out of your schedule is sometimes difficult amid a sea of other obligations. But you’ll be glad you did. You might even meet up with a friend to catch an inspirational movie and leave feeling ultra inspired.

8. Stay positive

Living with chronic pain can take a toll on your emotional reserves. However, being kind to yourself and avoiding comparisons with others goes a long way to helping you find peace. In a relaxed state of mind, you’ll be more open to inspiration.

What are your best tips for finding inspiration?

Image by Shanon Wise via Flickr