‘Inspiration’ is everywhere at the moment. Social media is littered with inspirational images, and everyone from supermarkets to milkshake producers claims to have the inspirational quote that will change your life. The dictionary defines inspiration as ‘the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative’. If inspiration can stimulate us to do or feel something, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. Supermarkets and milkshake producers know that they can harness inspiration to influence the way we behave (and what we buy).
But they’re not the only ones. We can all learn a lesson from the marketing companies, and use inspiration as a powerful tool to alter the way we think. We can use it to find motivation, to feel better about the world, to influence our own thinking and change our own behaviours. The trick is to take the time to understand what it is that inspires us as individuals. We’re all different, so this isn’t the same for everyone. But if we make a list of the things that get us excited, that fire us up, and that energise us, and then consciously make an effort to fit more of those things into our daily lives, inspiration can help us to feel better about the world, and to keep happy and mentally healthy.
Here at Visyon we’re lucky to be surrounded by inspiring people and stories every day. The young people we support are often (through no fault of their own) facing some extraordinarily difficult challenges, the kind of challenge that would make most of us hide under our duvet, wishing the world would go away. These challenges might include things like abuse, anxiety and depression, or the ill health or death of someone close to them. Yet the young people come into Visyon, and with surprisingly little support, find it in themselves to achieve some astounding things. Four of these young people recently moved us all to tears with songs they sang beautifully, and had professionally recorded. One young person, the other weekend, secretly did some work on Visyon’s sensory garden (in Congleton Park), in order to help and surprise one of the Visyon workers. Sometimes just the fact that our young people keep getting out of bed, keep going to school, keep supporting each other, keep volunteering, keep coming into Visyon, despite being bullied, or struggling with an eating disorder, or fighting with panic attacks, or being stuck between warring parents, is something to be immensely proud of. Truly inspirational.
People also do some pretty inspirational things to support us here at Visyon. The Congleton Harriers’ organised a half-marathon, Yoga Tree Cheshire held a Warriorthon on top of a hill in not-very-friendly weather, Rob Kane from SAS Daniels walked the Yorkshire 3 Peaks in 10 hours and 24 minutes, Sharon Melrose (one of Visyon’s therapists) cycled across Italy, and South Cheshire BNI are currently planning an 18-mile walk from their meeting place in Crewe to Visyon’s base in Congleton. All to support Visyon’s work. All to help local young people get the chance to be as inspirational as they can be.
So what inspires you? What gives you the mental stimulation to do or feel something? What excites you? What fires you up and energises you? Have a think. Make a list. And programme some more of these things into your daily schedule.
Then, once you’ve filled your life with inspiration, here’s another question to think about. What can you do to inspire others?