10 Inspirational Words To Uplift Your Day And Your Language

Words that can spark change

We’re entering a new year, and for many, this calendar change itself inspires a bit of joy and optimism. This feels like a good time to bask in the calm after the holidays, embrace our familiar routines, and tackle brand-new projects. Many of us are setting uplifting goals to power us through the new year.

Language can be a powerful way to spark feelings of joy, gratitude, dedication, and motivation. Many great people throughout history have employed motivational language to encourage people to strive, persevere, and stand up for things that matter to them, whether it’s John F. Kennedy saying, “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose or dedication,” or Martin Luther King Jr. saying, “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”

We see similar words over and over again in these kinds of inspirational quotes: hope, change, effort, courage, purpose. There are certain words that intrinsically seem to awaken our desire to be and do more. Some people even pick a single word to act as a personal motto or motivator for change. If you’re looking for a little lift, or perhaps a few encouraging words to add to your inspiration mood board on Pinterest, here are some terms you may not know yet. They’re guaranteed to get you dreaming about your best life!


When we’re looking for inspiration or motivation, often personal growth is the goal. We sometimes describe that with language that implies growth or blooming. If you’re looking for a new word to use, why not try efflorescence?

Efflorescence is a noun that means “the state of period of flowering” or “an example or result of growth or development.” You might use it to describe a more personal kind of flowering, such as in your career, goals, or emotional health. Let’s try it out:


  • The great feedback I got in my writing class led to an efflorescence of confidence.
  • After a few months working with a therapist, I experienced a great efflorescence of joy in my life.


Vivify means to “enliven, sharpen, brighten.” The word comes from the late Latin vīvificāre, a compound of vīvus, which means “alive,” and facere, or “to make.” It’s a word you can quite literally use to describe things that make you feel alive or awaken something great inside of you.

You might use vivify when you’re feeling invigorated or to describe something that leaves you feeling refreshed. Unlike those synonyms, vivify is a stronger alternative that feels vibrant and new. Let’s look at a few example sentences:


  • Meditating every morning helps vivify my sense of inner peace.
  • That trip to the Grand Canyon vivified my passion for nature.


Brighten up your vocabulary with 13 words to describe bravery and courage.


Contentment is what most of us strive for in life. It means “the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.” Contentment goes beyond just feeling happy or grateful. It’s a synonym for fulfillment and serenity. In other words, to feel contentment is to feel a sense of peace.

In a culture that encourages hustling harder and always striving to be your best, this word holds a special kind of significance because the times when we feel settled and at peace are so rare. You might use it to describe those moments, such as on a family vacation or during the holidays, when you’re feeling joyful and satisfied with life exactly as it is in that moment. Here are some examples:


  • I felt sudden contentment as I settled in to read a bedtime story to my niece.
  • Watching the sunset filled me with a sense of quiet calm and contentment.


Life gets a little boring if you’re doing the same things day after day. Instead, you want to seek the things that exhilarate you. Exhilarate is a verb that means “to enliven; invigorate; stimulate.” It derives from the Latin exhilarāre, or “to gladden.” Inspiring, right?

Exhilarate is a great word because it reminds you to look out for the things that wake you up, brighten your day, and make you feel alive. Wondering how to use it in a sentence? Let’s try some together:


  • There’s nothing like visiting a new city to exhilarate me!
  • The cold water of the swimming pool exhilarated my senses.


Are you living or are you thriving? The word thrive means “to prosper; be fortunate or successful,” and it’s what you might call a goal word. Thrive comes from Old Norse thrīfast, a reflexive of thrīfa, or “to grasp.” It’s a word you use when you’re envisioning what you want in the future, how you might like to feel, and how you’d like your life to look.

This new year, we could all use a little thriving in our lives. Coincidentally, if you’re considering a career change in 2022, it’s also a great résumé word. Let’s play around with it:


  • I thrive in challenging, fast-paced environments with plenty of opportunities to learn new skills.
  • I’m so glad I changed my major because I am thriving in this new science program.


You’ve likely heard the popular motivational phrase “You are enough.” Abundance goes along with that. Abundance means “overflowing fullness.” In inspirational circles, it’s often used to talk about the idea that you are enough as you are, and that there is plenty of joy, success, confidence, happiness, and inner peace to be had by all who seek it.

Abundance is a word that can get you thinking appreciatively about all you have, and it can inspire you to notice and appreciate the good things present in your life. Let’s check out some example sentences:


  • When I’m with my family, I feel an abundance of love.
  • “True abundance isn’t based on our net worth, but on our self-worth.” – Gabrielle Bernstein


Are you ready for the next level? To elevate something is, of course, to lift it up or raise it to a higher place. But, in the inspirational sense, elevate means “to raise to a higher intellectual or spiritual level.” So, what are we elevating with this word? Your spirit, abilities, or peace of mind.

Elevate is a great inspiration word because it doesn’t represent something unattainable. To elevate something, you meet it where it is and lift it up one level at a time. That’s how self-improvement goes too. Elevate is about progress, not perfection. Let’s try it out:


  • Nothing elevates my sense of passion quite like the theater.
  • I’m writing poetry every day to elevate my consciousness of the human condition.


Most of us only hear the word gratify when someone is using one of its forms to warn us not to seek instant gratification. Luckily, that’s not the only form of gratification. Gratify means “to satisfy; indulge; humor, as one’s desires or appetites,” and that’s definitely not a bad thing.

Other words for gratify are delight, enchant, please, and fulfill. It’s good to be gratified, and you might use this word when you achieve something great after a lot of hard work or when you finally prove to yourself that you really are able to accomplish something you want to do. For example:


  • After so much training, it was gratifying to cross the finish line in first place at my 5K race.
  • Over the holidays, I was finally able to gratify my thirst for travel with a long vacation.


Sometimes you need inspiration to keep on keeping on, whether you’re persevering through a pandemic, trying to finish a big project, working towards a major personal goal, or just struggling through the morning after running out of coffee. In all of those instances, the word you’re looking for is prevail.

To prevail means “to succeed; become dominant; win out.” In our day-to-day lives, there are dozens of tiny instances when we must search inside of ourselves and find the will to win out against apathy, fear, anxiety, exhaustion, or any number of challenging feelings and experiences. Prevail is an inspiration word we can carry around with us to remind us that we can always keep going. Let’s use it in a few sentences:


  • After a long debate in the pitch meeting, my idea finally prevailed, and I won the account.
  • I was tempted to give up on the crossword puzzle, but my intellect prevailed.


What other words make a big impact? Take a look at other ways to say impactful.


Effulgence is the word you want when the future’s so bright, you have to wear shades. It means “a brilliant radiance; a shining forth.” You might use it to describe the effulgence of the moon on a cool, autumn night. Or, you might use it as a reminder to bring forth your own radiance and brilliance this new year. Try it out:


  • Her poetry exudes a rare and warm effulgence.
  • The sun burst forth over the mountain tops with a blinding effulgence.

Save our word list

Feeling inspired? Make these inspirational words a part of your growing vocabulary with our handy word list. You can use this list to memorize the terms with our digital flashcards or test what you’ve learned with a free quiz. Save the list for your next writing project, journaling exercise or even to elevate your next Instagram caption. Hey, we all need a little inspiration sometimes! And when you’re ready, challenge yourself with this quiz!

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