Live In the Now

In the past few years I have come to see the wisdom in living in the present. Three reasons to live in the now are:

  1. Enjoyment: There is joy in the now
  2. Clarity: You can think clearest in the now -and-
  3. the Anxiety Vacuum: There is rarely any anxiety in the now.

First, enjoyment. There’s an old story psychologists tell about the child that has too many toys in front of him. The child will take a while to find one to play with and sometimes never pick one at all. This is true with us and our fun stuff in life. We have things on our mind we used to have and that we wish we had. These can be material or immaterial things as well. Of course, unless it’s in the now in front of us, it is all immaterial.

By limiting our choices of what to do with our thoughts, emotions and time to the now, we make enjoying life simpler. In the psychologists story, the same child when given only 2 or 3 toys to play with selects one more quickly and seems to enjoy himself much more in the limitation of choices. This is true with us when we limit ourselves to enjoy our choices in the now. All you have as a choice right now is all you will ever have. Make your choice and enjoy!

Second, clarity. On the heels of enjoyment in the child analogy, comes clarity. When the now is the only place to look, things become easier to see and easier to choose. If I am worried about what the past might say or what the future might think all the time, I am far more laden with concern than if I am concerned only with the now. Animals are 100% in the now. Think about them them at the zoo (if you’ve ever been, if not try the Discovery channel). They yawn and bask in the sun without a care in the world, until they become hungry or feel another need arise. Animals can teach us what living in the now is. There is still some chance for confusion, but living in the now enables the most clarity of perspective as opposed to dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Are you having troubles now? Chances are the answer is no. Troubles yesterday, tomorrow? Maybe. So why dwell on it. Let me let you in on a little secret you may not have thought about . . . **tomorrow will be today in a few hours and this stuff applies the same then!**

Last, the anxiety vacuum. I have heard it said that anxiety is largely made up of thoughts about the future and the past. When we STOP in life and meditate on the now, we inevitably realize that we have it better than we thought. The impending things disappear because they are not part of our now reality. The regrets and hard lessons of our past fade away when we focus on the hour, minute, second we are now in. Living in the now is an anxiety vacuum. If you can make it happen mentally, you might not need that medication you’ve been prescribed. Of course, sometimes it is medically necessary but why take it if living in the now can solve the problem of your anxiety?

I can anticipate rebuttals to my post as people in general seem to be afraid of living in the now 100% (including me!) but that doesn’t mean we should ignore its value. Of course we should consider the past. It has been said that “those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.” Of course. This is what separates us from the animals. But we should not forget that we are indeed animals ourselves and that with this logical ability to analyze come the debilitating temptation to OVER analyze. Of course we should plan for our future as best we can. It’s been said as well that “if you fail to plan you plan to fail.” I agree wholeheartedly. But I would counter with the fact that we can better plan while living mentally in the now without fear of failure in the future. Our “news” will automatically become our pasts and future in turn. Learning to master the now will translate each way.

As a writer I’m trying to persuade you of something, always, be it large or minuscule. I hope by laying out the enjoyment, clarity, and anxiety vacuum above about this mindset that I have persuaded you to take a risk and live in the now. There’s too much fun to be had today.

Road of Life: a Road to Mastery

I realize that my life consists of finding new activities and then mastering them. For example, at 7 or 8 years old I picked up a guitar. I am certainly not a virtuoso now but I have dedicated countless hours to understanding and finding a level of mastery over the instrument. As a point of fact I have probably spent more time studying and mastering the guitar than I have anything else in life. Later in life came dating. I failed at it miserably. The very few times in my teens and twenties that I had a chance to go out with a girl, I said all the wrong things and usually repelled the female who was with me. But I studied it and read books (The idiots guide to relationships) etc.

Eventually I was in a steady relationship that lasted over a year. When that one fell apart I had a little more mastery and so on until I met my wife. We both work at marriage, it takes two. In my opinion, she and I both have gained a knowledge of marriage and relationships and that has kept us together. The guitar, relationships, blogging, writing reviews, getting paid to blog, relaxation, maintaining a healthy diet, … these are so many more human activities are the things I seek to master. Tomorrow there are sure to be new challenges. The meaning of life to me is to seek out new things and master them as best you can. If that sounds hard, you don’t understand me correctly. There is triumph through difficulty and there is nothing like the joy of mastery. Now that I have had this revelation about my life, I suppose it’s good I’m a blogger so I can leave behind some of these breakthroughs I make.

My Life as a Slightly Slower World Tour

The 4 years 1988-1992 were my rock and roll years. I was a singer/songwriter and guitarist trying to make music for money. My vision was simple, to make the music on the other side of the records I listened to growing up. Still, becaise I knew others who achieved that goal, it allowed me to see that goal wasn’t everything. In fact, I learned that all paths really lead us to eat foods of the world and find our own form of influence.

I met and worked with Dave Sharp of the Alarm and grew up as friends with Gwen Stefani of No Doubt. Both people I know personally and I thought they had achieved my utmost dream of going on a world tour. I don’t recall them being any better off than me. You can only sleep in one bed every night. You can only put your leg through one pant leg at a time. Now, so many years later, I realize that in a way I started my own world tour in my mind back then in 1988. I didn’t sell any t-shirts but it was hugely successful. It goes on still today.

For example: when my wife takes me to the Thai place and I try a yellow curry for the first time, or any variation on that. When I go on a small local vacation it is like the Bahamas for me. I don’t write much music these days but when I pick up my guitar and play my old riffs to an empty tall ceilinged room, I am enjoying all the great stuff a world tour can offer. I see that now. The good news is I didn’t have to ever go on a world your to see the influence of my teaching, my fatherhood, my love for my wife. I can see that is all happening now without a tour bus, without millions of dollars. When someone said “the best things in life are free,” she/he was correct. You can have them here at home in your own front yard or on a tour bus to somewhere seeking something that is fleeting and maybe even, not real.

Vulnerable Journey

I’ve discovered something about myself in the past week that is really liberating. While it may sound simple to some, I have learned that it isn’t the end product that is the most important part of my teaching. I know this and yet that has been my focus for most of my years on the job. The most important things are moments every day along the way in life’s classroom. While I’ve been aiming at touchstones and measuring progress by them, the moments have rippled by often unnoticed. That’s where the vulnerable part comes in.

Living in the moment is by its nature a vulnerable thing. A master craftsman can teach with a scant system. I’d like to think I could present a lesson with nothing more than a chalk slate. Of course, technology can be helpful. I have learned that the bravest part of teaching is walking into the unknown. If I planned everything, the lessons wouldn’t be as effective. I am learning an art and I can see that now. It is not about appearances but rather connections with learners who need my teaching desperately. When they look back at 4th grade, they won’t care about any awards their teacher won. They will remember his willingness to make himself vulnerable, willing to fall and get back up again to meet them where they are in every moment.

The River

I’ve found there are too many duties in life. Whether it be a job, cleaning the house, putting in a yard, or even getting to the doctor when you’re sick, we are constantly inundated with demands. This can take a toll on our productivity and health levels. I started practicing meditation about a year ago in varied forms. Now, I do a textbook form of the Relaxation Response twice a day and it allows me to mentally slow down and analyze life’s rich demands. Prioritization is important but it’s also good to imagine your life as a river. The river just flows. Even as it sleeps, or you might say it never truly sleeps, the river flows to the sea somewhere far away. Until our river passes over the bend (when we die) we can never increase or decrease our flow speed. All we can do, thankfully, is “be the river.” When we make goals and achieve them, we are flowing. When we fail, we are flowing.

We will always have priorities and responsibilities vying for our attention, but we must never forget the reality that our life is a river that we have very little power to change. You might call this concept a surrender and it is. I also see it as an empowering liberation. Once you realize you cannot alter much in your life, you can celebrate what you have “as is.” When your life begins to seem like roaring rapids, you can slow down and accept that life is having its way with you. All you need to do as a river is pay attention to where you are going. I think you’ll see more beauty than you ever imagined as you let the river run its course. I also think you’ll find it in places you never thought to look, as well as in the usual focal points. When you don’t slow down and let things flow, you are blind to the beauty of life.

To my Niece Upon High School Graduation

I hope none of these sound bossy :) You are a great kid and some of these advices probably aren’t necessary but all are true to me. I wish someone would have told them to me at your age. Anyway, I wasn’t around for your upbringing much for the past 10 years or so but I definitely think you or any college kid would benefit by these pieces of advice. I’m not sure what the high school diploma requirements are but you graduated so you’re off to a great start! Enjoy the next chapters of your life. FIRST: School – Don’t think you are missing out if you miss partying. Everyone in college has to study the same amount. If you miss a party you will be more focused and less likely to flunk out (as 46% of your graduating class year will). A little celebrating is fine but … Get school done, there’ll be time enough for partying when you have the best career. The main reason I am able to support my family (cost wise) is because of my college not because of lame parties I went to.

Work – Learn a way to “leave work at work.” Avoid socializing too much there. It is your means to an end. Making a couple good friends at work is fine but you will save yourself a lot of trouble making solid boundaries between “IRL” and work. This is true when you start your career but also while in a part or full time job in college. Last, look into a good online school. They are showing up everywhere these days.

Fun – Do fun things! These keep your smile real and your bones healthy. Avoid alcohol or drugs to have fun. Many kids nowadays have bought into drugs and they will be sorry. I’ve been to some of my friends’ funerals who died of drugs.

Love – LOL. Me? Giving advice on this? Well yes. Enjoy time with guys but remember people come and go out of your life while in college. “Hold on loosely” is a good mantra. Treasure your experiences, I encourage you to have them. Be smart and all that. It is the experiences of dates and getting to know someone that you will call upon when you are one day married. I am so grateful for the experiences I’ve had with love. This is because they helped me understand what a relationship is. After nearly 10 years of marriage I am still working to figure that out.

Other – Spirituality is highly over rated. In fact, it makes some people insane. My advice is to spend quiet time with yourself on a daily or weekly basis. Keep a journal. All the religions of the world have still yet to show us proof what happens after 80 years or so when we die. For that reason, ignore the pamphlets they give you as you’re walking across campus and live with joy within those 80 years. Replace the word “spiritual” in your life with “relaxation” and “peace” and you’ll be better off than anyone in any church. The most important focus a young woman can have is finding a good career after college. I know you will knock em dead!

All the best kiddo, I love you.

Uncle Damien

Power of Mantra

This post will introduce a series of posts I’m writing on looking at life a little bit differently, namely the practice of having an open mind. First, let’s talk about mantra.

Having a mantra, or saying to repeat, as you start your day can really help get you in the mindset to win at life.

I’ve been writing about psychology and inspiration here since December of 2006 and in the process I’ve done a lot of homework I love to share. Mark Twain once said: “When I turned 20, I was amazed at all my father had learned in ten years.” Our perception of the world is filtered through our point of view. If we have an open mind as we travel through life, we transcend much of the trouble around us. When we get older, we can’t just buy memory to become smarter or faster. We can however, adopt certain practices that make our memory more keen. One invaluable tool in keeping an open mind is to have a mantra. This can help toward a simple understanding of an often complex set of circumstances.

Remember when you were younger, about junior high age? You could run around all day: boys at the football field, girls at the mall or maybe the softball field. (Of course I don’t mean to sound like all women wanted to be at the mall but many I knew did). At any rate, physical activity back then had very few consequences. I would run 5-10 miles on the x-country team and have no soreness whatsoever the next day. Well, now fast forward to today. I can barely run a mile without needing to stop and gather myself. Part of that is my fault for not exercising enough. Another part of it is just plain aging. Even as a youngster; however, practice had its place. Running those hill workouts paid off when I won the races. Our minds need practice too. A mantra can be part of that life-changing practice.

A key to sharp mental acuity is reflecting on the way we feel about the world. Our mind processes things differently as it is accustomed to do. The good news is that as long as we practice the right mental things, we never need to suffer the way we do in our physical aging. In fact, if we stay mentally “worked out,” we can be more enlightened the older we get. Kind of cool eh? So, just to clarify the big picture here:

Physical Practice = Winning races/competitions

Mental Practice = Seeing the world the way it is.

One mental exercise we should engage in is the practice of having an open mind. Just like running one mile and skipping the rest of the week will not make a young runner any stronger, so we are made “mentally flabby” when we neglect this practice. The time this verb “practice” is most vivid to me is when I get angry or when I get disappointed or otherwise discouraged. It’s in those moments I can hear that inner psychologist on the couch in my mind say: “Calm down, this is what practice is all about.”

When and how to use a mantra to keep your mind open:

  1. When we are out of sorts it comes from 1 of 2 sources: a) Internal – we have a chemical imbalance happening and need food or medicine to balance it out -or- b) External stimulus has disagreed with us in some way. The first step therefore is to determine which source is bringing you down. For example: Would a glass of water help? Some peanuts? You make the call there. This step is kind of like a stop and regroup.
  2. The second step is to ACT to accept the cause of the problem. It could be your blood sugar or a person in your face. Either way: ACCEPT the cause for what it is.
  3. The third step is a mantra. A mantra isn’t a middle eastern mystery, it’s just a phrase that has good energy for you. Remember the little engine that could? His mantra was: “I think I can, I think I can.” You can use many mantras that already exist or make up your own. I really like the mantra: “Is that so?” Eckhart uses it and recommends it in his book. I recommend it as well.

Other things you could say are (for example): “That’s one way to look at it,” “This too shall pass,” etc. I know you are creative because you’ve read this far. I encourage you to pick a mantra, write it on a card and when you lose your peace in the day, read the card, say the card, BE the card. I think you will as I have that the mental and spiritual rewards are mammoth. Another interesting thing to look into is making your own acronyms.

When you exit a room of dissent and feel like you’ve made a contribution of peace, it’s one of the most powerful victories you can imagine.

The More You Learn the Less You Know, When You're a Teenager

Teens need to understand that a project worth its salt takes work, time, and dedication. Not much is instant like a video game. The question is, how do we teach this with minimal pain.

Youth is the time for being risky, for being bombastic and loud. I can say that through my teens and twenties I was the loudest around, and often the most annoying. I would make my feelings known on any topic without holding back. Through that time I learned through trial and error that our perception can change on a given subject that we never imagined before. My son has a hard time seeing that truth, he’s 14 and I am 43. There’s a big gap of life lessons in there.At my age I am very aware of the fact that the facts may affect my view of something. In fact, they often do. My son is sure he can play a gig with his “band” that has only practiced once together.

He himself has been playing (according to him) 3 months. The band has practiced once. I will probably pay the $5 admission to the ASB show they asked his band to play at. I will hope for one of two things to happen: Either he will impress me with what one practice did or he will come to realize it is embarrassing to perform music when you have nothing to offer. As for now, he knows I am wrong and a mean old man for being so critical. I just want to see him be real and make the best art out of his life that he can. To have an influence, you have to have your act together. He may “know” that isn’t true now but the more he learns by experience, I hope he “knows” less than he does now and has a more open mind. And, of course as his dad, I am always open to be proven wrong.

Summer 2011 was a Time for Relaxation

Damien RileyThis has been one of my best Summers. We went to San Diego and saw the animals at Sea World do their flips for fish rewards. We took in the wonder of the Museum of Natural History and the Reuben H. Fleet Science museum. It was there we saw the IMAX images from the Hubble telescope. It was life changing. For me it is hard to look at those images and then accept that the mysteries of a god can be understood through a book. For me, that was significant.

We went to a few Orange County beaches: Laguna Beach, San Clemente, Balboa, and Newport. It was tranquil and serene watching my wife and kids laying out getting relaxed and thinking about how good we have it.

I have been able to genuinely relax this Summer, partly because I was focused on the value of that and partly because we had the money and the free time. I have been really pushing my stress levels to the limit and I need this Summer to remind myself that I can be still and foster the molecules in my body to come together and be strong again.

I’ve ordered my blogging job to where I have a schedule again. This will make me more productive. I know the type of writing I need to do and I intend to do it. Remember the value of relaxation before it’s too late. It will eventually hit through high blood pressure or shaky hands or other unwelcome malady. Take time to relax and your body will be strong to move toward your dreams.

You can see OC Beach Trip 2011 photos I‘ve shared in my album.

Counter Culture Mindset

I was watching “Doomsday Preppers” on the History Channel the other day and it never occurred to me before but did at that moment that I have something in common with them. They are outside of culture and I strive to be, at least mentally anyway, outside as well. My remote-ness is different in kind but “apart is apart” I hope to be different from the propogandish life protrayed on television and elsewhere in modern culture. I should call that life a lie because it really is. Some channels are deeper lies than others. In “my book,” counter culture is cool because it sustains a purity, at least in theory. A primal urge to meet ones needs and live with as much excess as possible is the goal. Recently I noticed there were two new movies coming out about the Beats (AKA the “Beatniks,” “Beat Generation.”) This is exciting for me! To see Jack Kerouac, William Buuroughs, and Allen Ginsberg on screen would be a treat. They have been like mythical creatures for me most of my life. The Beats represented counter culture and apparently movie makers want to spread that message today.

We live in a time that is for all intents and purposes: “The Matrix.” All we lack are the plugs for the backs of our heads. I don’t find much contentment in the “Doomsday Preppers” since they say the world is going to be taken out. They may be right, but I don’t want to focus on that. I’d rather focus on the now and what I can get from it. It is really all we have. A life that works toward that is my brand of counter culture. To learn is to conquer and I want that in excess. To be made aware of ones shortcomings and suffering is along the path. To obey ones instincts and find happiness in a new and untrodden way is my life’s ambition. This is rarely touched on in modern media. If you don’t measure up to what they tell you, then you can never be happy. I’m out to destroy that cultural myth. Success is the best revenge. I hope I remain counter culture until my dying day. When we dare to break out of our societal constraints, we can see with CLARITY what we need to do for ourselves.

One way to gain clarity on the issues of ones life is via meditation. There are many great books and websites that have been published on the topic. My brand of counter culture seeks calm and clarity through meditation. It isn’t just trendy yoga either. The mere act of a sigh can trigger the relaxation response. When you pay attention to your own body and relax it, your body will take better care of you. While in those relaxing time, I often have realizations about what my life needs. I try to follow through on that. Notice that though I praise the Beats I do not require drugs in my brand of counter culture. I don’t think they required it either but they do carry that stigma so I’m providing a disclaimer. Counter culture is cool, in my opinion. I think the more counter culture movements that arise the better. Obviously the debt and unrest in this country is an indicator that the status quo life we are fed in the media isn’t working for the majority.

Stay Curious My Friends

imageI’ve always wanted to see Ireland. One day, I hope to. Other friends in my vicinity have more exotic wanderlusts, like China or Borneo for example. For me, those places are a little scary, not to mention quite costly. Still, I want to go “farther out” with my curiosity. Everything seems odd when it hasn’t been experienced. Conversely, when you are familiar wit the “other,” it can become a favorite of yours, a close companion, even a place where you belong. With all the hue and cry over illegal immigration lately, I find myself encountering more and more xenophobia all around me. Facebook messages show poor people being shipped back on trucks to Central America and the caption reads “Go Home!” I find this sickening. I don’t think you should be allowed to voice an opinion until you have seen the conditions in the country they are fleeing. To them it isn’t a preference or a wanderlust, they are fleeing for their very lives. It’s really a spoiled attitude some Americans have and I wish it would stop. But back to topic.

I remember tasting sushi for the first time, I loved it! Most people I know who haven’t tried the “raw fish” say it’s disgusting. I remember trying Kun Pao Chicken in the early 90’s and loving the flavor. Back then, a lot of people told me I was odd for liking Chinese food. Little by little, customs and food come into our country from “afar” and it is a wonderful thing. I think we are at a point in American culture where it is time to embrace as much of the world’s ideas as possible. Some of ours are fading and actually failing in many ways. The more we replace the fear of the unknown with curiosity, the better chance we have as a country to survive. Xenophobia is alive and well and ain’t that a shame. I’ll open the comments to you with this question but feel free to “wander:” What favorite foods or customs have you admired from other countries? What do you think of the quote? Did it have an entirely different meaning to you than what I wrote about? If you’re a blogger, You might write about it and pingback here so others can read it.

Get Away Spend Big and Splurge

Chicago Style pizza night w Tatonka brews.

One day before Christmas I went out shopping with the intention of buying my wife UGG boots. Considering it was snowing that day, I went with a more practical option women’s rain boots. There is a time when practicality is good. More often than not it seems that sentimental=romantic. This is also true about taking your wife or date out to eat: spare no expense and watch magic happen.

This one goes out to the couples that are feeling somewhat “well done” with regards to the heat of life and it’s demands. Of course, the title has told you

I am recommending a small scale vacation as an antidote to the stress of life.

My wife and I went down to Irvine in one of those ruts to see an independent film. We had an awesome time and caught ourselves doing silly romantic things such as: holding hands, kissing too long, cuddling in our seats (with that arm rest thingie “up,” )  and other stuff you might see only people half our age doing. So, you might ask, what made it so much fun? Simple:

We went AWAY! We spent BIG! We SPLURGED!

I purposefully picked a theater 50 miles away. This opened our hearts and minds to a new place and therefore new experiences. We got lunch while down there, had some frozen yogurt, and generally enjoyed ourselves as we normally do close to home. There was one big difference:

The backgrounds were different!

My wife and I found that traveling outside our normal “stomping grounds” was very healthy for our relationship. That’s why I am recommending it to you. If you think the drive might be too much of a hassle, think again. Why not make a music mix of all your favorite songs, or better yet HER favorite ones. I think the magic of getting away is less of a cliche and more of a time tested reality in my life. I need to make the effort to get away with my wife as much as possible. I know it can be done on the cheap as well so don’t let financial constraints stop you.

This weekend or sometime soon, why not venture out of your town with your wife, husband, or significant other, wherever it may be and just get away. It could be to Disneyland or just a movie 50 miles away! I recommend you do it and watch what happens in your relationship. Food tastes better when you drive a while to get it! To answer the question below, I would drive as far as it takes to get the best food and have a great time on a date!

Some people eat to live, while others live to eat. What about you? How far would you travel for the best meal of your life?

Source: Live to Eat | The Daily Post

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

That’s an old saying and it’s about having patience. What if you were Rome? Would you listen to that advice and have patience with your own growth? You ought to. We are all in process. I think we yearn for that feeling of completion when we try new projects or expectations of ourselves. The truth is however, we need time to complete most things we set out to do. For example, they don’t give High School graduates the high paying science jobs right?

Got a vision or desire to do something with your life? Congratulations … cherish it!

Relationships, college, reading a book, … these are just three things that take a while to complete. Other endeavors can take months or years longer at times, like adult acne, just to name one. Just because it takes a long time to treat, should a person not try? Patience here is the key. There can be great satisfaction in knowing where one wants to go. This is true despite the fact that things take time.

I think the best way to go through life is to learn to be thankful for goals and directions you make for yourself. They are really where accomplishment begins. If you can be “at peace” along the journey.

Diary Entry 7/7/2017 – I Love to Feel the Rain in the Summertime

A few cool things to share this morning, this:

My wife’s friend at work picked this us at a record store since my wife shared I was a big Alarm fan. I’m in awe!

And this …

Sarah and I went to the movies last night.

Oh and one other thing, I got called up to be on the panel Sunday on the LAMBcast. My good friend MovieROB is Leading because he won MOTM with Saving Private Ryan. I watched it yesterday while eating buffalo wings. I don’t mean any disrespect, but they were so good!

Life is good! I’ll be wise to not fly too high as it isn’t how high you jump but how straight you walk when you hit the ground again. An old church quote I picked up that has served me well.

Damien Scott

 

 

25 Ways to Find Inspiration, Relax, and Clear Your Mind

The world is so full of boring people. It’s important for leaders, teachers, writers, performers, and artists to share an influence that is NOT boring with this starved-for-passion world.

This is a guest post from Chelle who writes about relationships on her blog itmightbelove.com.

Recently I noticed Damien asked a question in his post about what we want and what we need:

What is your thing you can do today to relax your body and awaken your creativity?

Having a similiarly hectic life to everyone else I try to at least once a day do something to help me relax and clear my head – otherwise I would probably be spinning in circles most of the time. Most of the things you can do to find inspiration and clear your mind don’t take a lot of effort or time to do.
Here are 25 Ways to Find Inspiration, Relax, and Clear Your Mind:

  1. Music: No matter what my mood is or what I need to get done, music is a BIG source of inspiration. There’s music to fit any mood and sometimes just hearing certain songs can make you feel good. Playing guitar or piano (even if you’re not necessarily a rock star!) is another great creative outlet to find a little inspiration and/or clear your head.

  2. Nature: The world is a beautiful place, and yet most of the time we’re too busy to enjoy it. Whether you decide to watch the sky or just go for a walk in the woods, it can instantly make you feel less stressed and help get that creativity going again.

  3. People Watching: Sometimes its easy to be overwhelmed by the people we encounter daily through work or school or our families. But watching complete strangers can give you the opportunity to view life from someone else’s eyes. You can guess what they might be thinking or feeling or going through. You might find some ideas pretty easily by watching someone else for just a few minutes.

  4. Take a Road Trip: A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to drive 2 hours in a car all by myself. No kids screaming just me, my car, and the open road. It was amazing! It was the first time I had driven that long by myself I forgot how much a road trip could instantly clear your mind and inspire you!

  5. Photographs: Thanks to the power of the internet, there are millions of photos to take a look at and use for inspiration. If you like to take photographs, why not take a day sight seeing and snapping shots? Taking some time to go out and take pictures can be a great source for inspiration and relaxation.

  6. Dreams: Dreams can be very powerful in giving you insight in your life. If you have problems remembering dreams, all you need to do is get into a habit of writing about what your dreams were even if very hazy or foggy at first. You’ll start remembering very vivid details before long. Understanding your dreams is one step to understanding yourself better and even if the dream is complete nonsense it may give you a few good ideas! A good night’s rest can do wonders as well!

  7. Great Food: Inspiration can come from waking up your senses and taste is no exception. Maybe its comfort food or something exquisite. Sometimes ice cream makes everything all better too. If you tend to be overindulgent a lot, cutting back to healthier eating habits can also help improve your mood and help you concentrate.

  8. Aromatherapy: Sure, a lot of people will roll their eyes at the thought of candles and incense and all of that. But smell is another important sense that when stimulated can help you instantly relax. Recently I used an old real estate trick to put a few teaspoons of vanilla on a pan in the oven to warm. The whole house radiated of a warm fuzzy baking cookies smell that put everyone instantly in a good mood. Lavender is also another smell that most people respond well too.

  9. Touch: While we’re on the subject of the senses, touch is another that we often forget to nurture. Whether you hold someone’s hand, sign up for a day at a local spa for a massage, rub your dog’s belly, or just wear you most favorite worn out t-shirt the things your body touches and come into contact with can have a big affect on your mood and your creativity.

  10. Close Family/Friends: The people we are the closest to are typically the ones we take for granted the most. Take a time-out and really listen to them what they are thinking about or doing. You’ll be surprised at how inspiring it might be to see what they have to say or a different perspective on a situation you’re in.

  11. Online Forums: If I’m ever stuck on a blog post idea or need somewhere to let off some steam, online forums are great for this! Complete strangers love to talk about their problems and listen to yours. One of the nicest communities I’ve met are the folks over at MyLot but there are plenty of other great boards too. Sometimes listening to other people’s problems and trying to offer solutions can help you clear your head, give you a place to vent, and get new perspectives you hadn’t thought of before.

  12. Magazines & Newspapers: With everything online anymore, we forget about the thrill of a magazine coming in the mail or opening up the Sunday paper and spreading it across the table or couch. I like magazines and newspapers because they are perfect for my short attention span and they are also full of recent events and opinions to help inspire you.

  13. Brainstorm: Sometimes a good brainstorm can help you think of new ideas and thoughts. You can list pros and cons if you are trying to make a decision, or you can map it out with a list of ideas and cloud bubbles.

  14. Paint, Draw, Color: I am lucky that by being a mom I have a full arsenal of crayons, water colors, and markers at my disposal. Anytime the kids get restless or I feel like we need to calm down we sit down and paint or color. Instant relaxation!

  15. Hydrotherapy: A hot bath or shower, a soak in a hot tub, maybe even a few laps around a pool can all do wonders in relaxing you and helping you think clearly. Haven’t you ever heard anyone say I do my best thinking in the shower?

  16. Break the Monotony: Most days follow a routine of some sorts. Routines are usually good you’re more organized and better prepared to handle the stress that’s bound to come your way. But every so once inawhile, take a break from your routine. Do something entirely spontaneous. You’ll find yourself rejuvenated again.

  17. Exercise: It wasn’t until about 6 months ago I realized exercise wasn’t a chore but an instant pick me up. I usually workout to my list of 100 workout songs – afterwards I always feel much more relaxed.

  18. Do Nothing: Sometimes when you’re so caught up in the hustle and bustle of everything, what you really need is some do nothing time. Think about how much time you spend doing absolutely nothing there’s a good chance you’re not giving yourself a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. Take an hour (or maybe even a whole day) and do absolutely nothing.

  19. Clean House: Damien suggested this a few times and I completely agree. Clutter and disorganization can make you feel overwhelmed instantly. Whether you decide to organize the files on your computer or to clean out the garage or do dishes by hand in the sink doesn’t matter sometimes just cleaning things out can help you clear your mind and give you a sense of order and control.

  20. Write: Writing has always been an excellent way to relax and be inspired, unless you’re experiencing writers block of course! Sometimes keeping a daily or weekly journal can help you sort out thoughts and ideas and feel better as well as take a look back at what you’ve done which can be inspiration. If writer block is a problem, I’m a big fan of freewriting you set a timer for 5 minutes and just write non stop for that 5 minutes. Sure, you might find yourself writing a lot of nonsense but you might also find a few great gems of ideas in there as well.

  21. Add Some Greenery: You don’t have to have a green thumb to enjoy gardening. A few low maintenance house plants or doing some landscaping or even mowing the grass can all provide an outlet to escape the usual stress and help you clear your mind.

  22. Meditate: Spending some time to quietly reflect and clear your head can work wonders as well. Learning how to meditate can really make a big difference on your ability to

  23. Do a Puzzle: It doesnt matter if you do a jigsaw puzzle or a crossword puzzle. Puzzle solving is a great way to exercise your brain and help you get your mind off the more important things for a little while and help you relax.

  24. Laugh: There’s been proof that laughter is perhaps the best medicine and even good for you but it’s a good chance you’re not laughing enough. Next time everything goes wrong don’t start yelling laugh. Make sure you find something funny at least once a day. I try to do this with my totally pointless blog about stupid stuff.

  25. Get Your Frustrations Out: One of our biggest problems is we tend to bottle up emotions or feelings. It’s not intentionally usually, but the day to day aggravation can eventually make you feel like you might just snap. So go ahead and take some time at a batting cage or golf range, punch a pillow, or scream at the top of your lungs. You’ll feel better that you did!

Do you feel inspired yet? There’s a ton of things you can do that can instantly make you feel better and at peace with the world. Most aren’t hard to do – you just need to make sure you put things like these on your priority list right up there with “get dressed today” and “feed kids”. Giving yourself some space and time can help you move from feeling like you can’t get anything done to feeling like you can conquer all.