Feeling fully alive comes as a result of living your life in tune with your visions and inspirations. Such a state of being doesn’t keep you thinking about the meaning of life, rather it allows you to experience it in a meaningful way.
Most of us have probably witnessed that inspiration is not something that likes to stick around. It is like a neighbor that you used to hang out a lot when you were a kid, but now only see when the occasional plans are made.
Due to the infrequent appearances, the best thing to do when you are feeling particularly inspired is pause your busy day for a moment and write down every little thing that comes to your mind. If you don't do this (within five seconds) you will very likely forget all of the “precious input” and just continue being busy with seemingly important stuff. It is important to fully utilize the inspiration when it strikes (1).
What to do when you’re not inspired? Waiting and hoping seems like a logical solution but does it really work?
To answer this question we will need to look at the different levels of inspiration and determine what happens to our brain (neurological and psychological levels), body (physiological level) and behavior when we decide to pursue what inspires us (2).
On a Neurological Level
Inspiration takes place in the anterior superior temporal gyrus. It is located roughly under our right ear on the right-hand side. It happens like a burst of gamma waves. Before this occurs, there is a burst of waves in the back of your head where our visual cortex is found. This is where all of our visual inputs are processed.
This means inspiration starts with a “preparation” of alpha waves in the visual cortex creating a sort of “blink” in the brain that allows for the gamma waves to burst in the anterior superior temporal gyrus. The process leads to a vision of something very briefly in your mind’s eye (located in your pineal gland) (3).
According to neuroscientific research the best way to allow inspiration to surface is by disengaging your logic. Did you notice how it says “allow inspiration to surface”? This means that inspiration is always there but isn’t always accessible to our conscious mind.
We must learn how to use and discipline the mind, structure our time, and disengage our logic in order to access inspiration.
On a Psychological Level
In terms of psychology, two particular factors play a big role in what happens when we become inspired: values and self-worth.
When we discover our muse and dignify it with constant action, we start living according to our values.
Our personal values are very important as they influence the way we show ourselves to the world. They truly matter to us. Dr. John DeMartini asserted that: “when we are living out of alignment with our values, we are more likely to manifest addictive behavior, self-sabotage, and procrastination in our lives. When we are living within our values, we experience better memory retention, focus, and productivity” (4).
This leads us to the conclusion that our brain is constantly filtering information according to our value system. The more we recognize and live according to what we believe is truly important in life, the better chance we have to take inspired action.
“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-brake on.” – Maxwell Maltz
Inspiration lifts that handbrake and brings more sense of freedom into our life. With freedom comes your sense of authenticity. Willingness to learn, grow and pursue your passion result as well. It isn’t easy to believe in yourself if there is very little inspiration in your life. Think about that the next time you have the urge to ignore your inner impulses.
When we stop disowning what matters to us, we have more energy and vitality to achieve the life we desire.
On a Physiological Level
When we find ourselves inspired our body produces higher levels of serotonin and dopamine.
You’ve probably heard about these neurochemicals many times before. They are usually associated with chocolate intake and sex. If you are on a diet or single, you will be happy to hear that there are other ways to provoke their influx in our brain and physiology. Inspired action can be as good as the previously mentioned pleasures in stimulating the neurochemicals.
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter involved in movement, memory, pleasurable reward, and motivation. Serotonin is involved in well-being, appetite regulation, and the transmission of nerve
Impulse” (5). This means that the more inspiration, the more of such simulations.
On the other hand, if we are victims of circumstances and just getting by in life then we will stimulate a higher production of cortisol. You have probably heard about this neurotransmitter as well. It is most commonly known as the neurochemical related to stress.
In the long run what impacts our mood the most, either energizing or depleting us, are the chemicals in our body called neurotransmitters. Inspiration “juices us up” with good ones, while the lack of it poisons our body with stress.
On a Behavioral Level
With inspiration in the picture, setbacks can now be seen as opportunities for growth; limiting self-beliefs can be chances for self-acceptance and inner peace. There is no failure, just learning. This mentality drives a powerful proactive behavior that leaves you as “the inspired individual” with the ability to tackle circumstances head-on.
Interesting fact: when we are inspired we are more likely to replace fear of the unknown with curiosity (6).
Have you already determined what truly matters to you? What makes your life meaningful? What are you passionate about?
If you haven’t now is the best time to do so. Ensure that you are liberated from the pressures and expectations of society, or at least conscious of them so that you can create your unique, compelling vision. Determine what you want, go for it, and remember change takes time. Change requires a lot in terms of effort, but it yields much in return as well.
“Do what you have to until you can do what you want to!” – Maya Angelou
Never give up.
(Read this next: 4 Powerful Habits That Will Keep You Inspired Every Day)