Do the mountains take your breath away? When you see the rolling hills climb to majestic purple peaks do you feel your body vibrate? Maybe it’s the ocean. When you walk along the beach, looking past the blue and white waves for miles toward the horizon, do you feel a sense of calm? Could it be that listening to your favorite music, anything from sonatas to rock and roll, fills your soul with peacefulness and gets your creative energy flowing? Watching movies, reading books, or being with other people can all be sources of inspiration in your life. Turns out, you can find your inspiration from landscapes, kittens, or even a friendly touch.
How to find your inspiration in spite of chronic pain
When you live with a chronic pain condition it can be difficult to feel inspired. Not only does the pain influence how much activity you can participate in on a daily basis, it can also darken your mood making you less interested in trying.
But even through the darkest night, the sun rises again and it is beneficial to surround yourself with inspirational messages, images, and people. The very process of seeking out inspiration will inspire you and can help you relax, be creative, or push yourself outside of your own comfort zone.
Here are some things that might inspire you.
Have you ever thought about having a blog or a website? Did you know that this very personal project can provide you with inspiration? Having a project to work on can help you stay active and engaged in a big way. Since it is your site, you have control over the design and content. Use colors that you like.
Choose photos and images that make you happy. Write content that you would want to read. Don’t worry about building the blog audience, this project isn’t for other people. However, in time you might find that your words are inspiring others and that can be fuel to keep going.
Inspiration on Instagram
Last year, we explored some of the most inspirational Instagram stars who live with chronic pain. While they may face adversity in their daily lives they use beauty, the art of photography, and the internet to create something amazing. Model Jesse Golden, former Wall Street analyst Masumi Goldman, and yoga teacher Kerri Verna all have chronic pain and positivity in common. While they don’t pretend that it is easy to live with the effects of their pain conditions, they also don’t limit or define their lives in this way.
Images on Pinterest
While Instagram focuses on user submitted photographs, often taken with smart phones, Pinterest is a collaborative community where users can pin posts from a variety online sources. At its most basic, you can peruse Pinterest to find images that make you feel good and pin them to your own boards. You can create boards that fit with your various interests such as art, interior design, or inspirational quotes. You can revisit your boards frequently to be soothed and inspired the by images and resources you’ve saved.
Start by searching for inspirational quotes and follow those people whose views resonate with yours.
Do you love getting lost in books? You don’t have to narrow your reading material to just fiction to be inspired. Pick up a biography from someone you’ve always admired. You may find personal stories that speak to you on your own level. You may learn new things that can help direct your life in a positive way. For example, the story of Nicole Hemmenway, who went from a wheelchair to running a marathon, may provide hope and encouragement.
Celebrities who fight back
The average person isn’t the only one dealing with the effects of chronic pain. Sheer statistics alone means some of our favorite celebrities are also living with these types of conditions. It is clear that they don’t let their pain stand in the way of success, so look to them for positive reinforcement.
Fibromyalgia, for instance, is a very common and difficult to treat condition. Did you know that Morgan Freeman and Jeaneane Gorafalo have both gone public with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia? Other celebrities that are rumored to live with the condition include choreographer Debbie Allen and singer Paula Abdul.
Find your inspiration in community
We are a very lucky generation. There were times in history when dealing with the effects of chronic pain would almost certainly lead to loneliness and isolation. In the 21st century, we have developed a variety of interactive platforms that can provide company and inspiration for anyone. No one with chronic pain has to feel alone again.
Support groups in your community can be a fantastic source of inspiration. You can meet others who are living with the same concerns you have and who have succeeded in spite of their chronic pain. Look at resources like your local community center or faith communities to find the right support group for you.
If an in-person support group isn’t feasible for a variety of reasons, our modern culture has given us a way to extend beyond the local and form relationships with people all over the globe. Online communities have been shown to provide as much stimulation and support as many face-to-face communities.
Find your inspiration at home
Finding your inspiration doesn’t have to be discovered by only people or external places, you can cultivate it all around you. Certainly the Sistine Chapel and the Grand Canyon are inspirational, but your immediate environment can be enhanced to provide you with all the inspiration you need right at home. This is especially important if it’s difficult for you to leave home because of your pain. Here’s how to make your space beautiful to encourage inspiration.
Here is an idea that can be physical or virtual. In interior design there is a concept and a tool called a mood board. This is usually a physical collage of the colors, textures, furnishings, and other accessories that they feel will be good to include in a particular room design. But a mood board doesn’t have to be reserved for professional designers nor does it need to only evoke feelings about decorating.
Use magazines, fabric scraps, sketches, flowers, and other things you find beautiful and inspirational to create a collage that makes you feel good. You can do something similar on Pinterest by pinning images that you find particularly engaging from all over the web.
Have you ever found yourself carried away by a song? You may find your mind immersed in the melodies of classical or discover that you are more energetic when your favorite rock song is on the radio. Music has healing properties and an entire branch of therapy uses music to help people cope with a variety of mental and physical issues.
If you have any musical talent or interest at all, playing and creating music can also provide benefits. At the very least, you shouldn’t surround yourself with silence all the time. Make a playlist of your favorite songs and listen to them when you need a little pick me up in the day.
How your home smells might also help contribute to a more positive environment. Aromatherapy has been used for a long time to help calm or energize people with scent. There are plenty of ways you can infuse scent into your home: scented candles, incense, and electric diffusers. Many popular scents are available in essential oils that can easily fill your home up with pleasing smells.
Some common scent associations help with certain aspects of mental health. Lemon can enhance your cognitive ability and peppermint can help with physical activity. Rosemary can keep you active and engaged. And creativity can be enhanced by cinnamon and vanilla. Alternately, you can simply choose your favorite scents.
Speaking of scent, fresh flowers in your home can cheer up a space and make you feel more engaged with your surroundings. On top of that, the flowery fragrances and pop of color can brighten even the most basic room. Fresh flowers can also be inexpensive and easy to obtain since they are sold at every major grocery store chain. Keep a couple of vases on hand to arrange fresh flowers in.
Keep the flowers alive longer by using the food provided by the florist and refilling the water regularly. Place them in your home where you can appreciate and enjoy them. When they’ve expired, toss them in your compost pile and replace them with a new batch of fresh blooms.
Another branch of therapy that has been used to help treat a variety of mental health conditions is art therapy. The idea is that creative expression can help individuals explore their emotions and help foster better self-awareness. Art therapy can be used by anyone to help them learn to express themselves better. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a visual artist, you can create art to help inspire you for other aspects of your life. No one has to see what you draw or paint. It can allow you to express yourself in a way that can expand your creativity.
Dedicated creative space
Another way to create an inspiring place in your home is to dedicate a space to your personal wellbeing. This could be a creative studio or office. Or, it could simply be a corner of your home that is set aside as a meditation space. Use items that you find particularly beautiful or inspiring to decorate.
Some people turn to religion or spirituality to find inspiration so building a small household altar or shrine can provide a calm place to relax and recharge. Use religious statues or paintings or just beautiful things that remind you of your higher power.
Of course, building a household shrine is one step in the right direction but using it can be another. We often promote mindful meditation. We believe that it has long-term benefits for those who learn the practice. Developing a meditation habit can help you see other aspects of your life with more clarity. It can also provide plenty of inspiration to help you move forward in your endeavors, whatever they may be.
How will you find your inspiration with chronic pain?