The 2016 election brought many things to light. But chief among them was our collective need to heal.
In the weeks and months after November 8, 2016, I watched as my Facebook and Twitter feeds became flooded with hateful, incendiary messages. As someone who works in social media, I found myself constantly dragged down into a space of negativity and hopelessness just by sheer association.
I craved a respite from all of the rage. I craved a freedom from all of the fear. I craved a little bit of hope.
Many people abandoned social media altogether in the aftermath of the election for the sake of their mental health. Given my career, I had to find another solution. So, I decided to do a complete overhaul of my social media. I made an active effort to not engage in the discord that became the political discourse on Facebook and Twitter. I started shifting my social media usage to friendlier, more visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Instead of just following people I knew, I made a point to seek out Instagram accounts focused on positivity and empowerment.
The Internet is what you make of it; it’s a tool like any other medium. It’s how you use that tool that ultimately makes all the difference. So, choose your programming wisely. Choose to tune into something positive instead of negative. Choose healing over hurting. Choose connection over controversy.
The choice is yours.
Below, I share 76 of the most inspiring Instagram accounts I’ve discovered over the last few years. I hope they bring you a little more light and love. I hope they bring you joy. I hope they help you cultivate more happiness.
Truth is, you deserve it.
Run by a therapist named Melissa Brody, this Instagram account takes a funny, welcoming and lighthearted approach to discussing mental health—and helps to normalize it in the process. This is one of my absolute favorite Instagram accounts to follow, and not just for the inspiration. Definitely check this one out.
Pegged as “your toolbox to feel happier, from the inside out,” @happynotperfect shares a variety of posts that are all focused on one thing: Helping you excavate happiness from within. Now that’s something I can get behind.
@TheBeHappyProject’s motto is short and sweet: “Live • Life • Happy.” And that’s exactly what their posts will help you do. Give it a follow and watch your mood improve!
This account is a really interesting hodgepodge of posts that will help you challenge your thoughts, and, yes—@changeurperception.
No discussion of personal improvement or striving to be your best self would be complete without mentioning Lewis Howes. Lewis is a former athlete turned bestselling author whose posts offer tangible tips and practical advice to help you improve every aspect of your life. Highly recommend following him!
There are few people on Earth who are more inspiring than Jay Shetty. A former monk, Jay made a huge pivot in his life to become a mega-successful content creator and purveyor of love and light. His “making wisdom go viral” tagline speaks for itself. Do yourself a favor and follow him if you don’t already.
Cleo Wade is an artist, author and poet who has a way of conveying even the most complex topics in a simple, easy-to-understand and visually impactful manner. You’ve likely seen her art all over the web and didn’t even know it was hers. Cleo’s book, Heart Talk, was one of my favorites of 2018. Definitely check her out.
Full disclosure: I write for Thrive Global and know several people who work there. But their account is a great mix of empowerment and pragmatism to improve all aspects of your life. Check ‘em out!
Inc. focuses more on the business side of things, but their colorful quotes really pop in my feed. The second I see one of their posts that features a quote, I instantly know it’s theirs. And I always appreciate the reminders.
In recent years, Arianna Huffington has pivoted to focus much more squarely on work-life balance, mental health and overall well-being. Her new venture, Thrive Global, covers those topics and many more, helping to shine a light on our burnout culture and the negative impacts it can have on our health and happiness. I follow Arianna because she’s a genuine thought leader who’s always sharing something new, exciting and empowering. She’s a must-follow for any career-minded person who wants to balance their priorities both in and out of the office.
Jason Feifer is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur magazine—and a former colleague of mine. His motivational Moleskine mantras are succinct and to-the-point, but they are also distinct and unique, offering a healthy dose of perspective no matter what challenge you’re currently facing.
This account is run by Dr. Rebecca Ray, whose personal Instagram presence also makes my list of the most inspiring Instagram feeds to follow. This account is a carefully curated mix of motivating messages from all over the web, which is hugely helpful in discovering new authors, counselors, therapists and artists to follow on the platform. Check it out!
I first discovered Mastin on Twitter, where he was running an account called @TheDailyLove years ago. These days, Mastin focuses on emotional trauma and healing, sharing impactful and insightful wisdom for anyone struggling with tragedy, loss, grief and more.
Gabby Bernstein is a bestselling author and spiritual guru whose ability to distill deep topics into plain language is unparalleled. Check out her feed for quotes from her books, tidbits from her site and guided meditations galore. Gabby’s enlightened presence will light up your life. All you have to do is invite her in with a follow.
Michele Promaulayko is the former Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health—and is a tour de force in the wellness industry. Michele and I worked closely together when I ran social media for Women’s Health from 2011-2013. Michele is edgy yet uplifting, sassy yet sophisticated, fierce but kind. And her presence shines just as bright online as it does in person. Follow her to see who’s who of the fitness, wellness and nutrition industries. Be sure to stay for the badass wisdom, too.
I recently discovered Aaron Rose when a friend of mine shared one of Aaron’s posts on consciousness to her Instagram Story. And my feed has been blessed with beautiful messages and poignant reminders ever since. I highly recommend @aaronxrose to anyone who’s enjoyed A New Earth or The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer or A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. He’s that deep. And our world needs that depth and those words of healing more than ever.
Morgan Harper Nichols—or MHN as she occasionally captions her designs—is a writer, artist and all-around purveyor of light whose work has touched millions online. Once you see her visual and verbal style, you’ll know instantly when you encounter her work all over Instagram, Pinterest and other social media sites. Morgan’s ability to translate the human story into powerful poems and grace-filled graphics is second to none. I can honestly say my life has improved since I started following her. Do yourself a favor and give yourself the same gift.
Dr. Rebecca Ray is an author, speaker and clinical psychologist based in Australia. Her Instagram bio really says it all: “For finders and seekers of an expansive, inspired life.” Trust me, she does not disappoint. For all those folks looking to become more vulnerable, courageous and present, Dr. Rebecca Ray is your gal.
SELF has made significant strides in recent years to become more socially conscious—and, for lack of a better word, “woke.” Featuring subjects of all shapes, sizes and ethnic and religious backgrounds, SELF has become the de facto fitness and wellness destination for an entire generation of women who are tired of seeing the same unrealistic body types and skin tones pushed on them by the beauty, fashion and health industries. And that’s a wonderful shift that’s helping provide visibility to largely underserved and underrepresented communities of women who deserve to know that they matter. Hit the follow button for recipes, workouts and memes—but stay for the mental health tips, self-care regimens and motivational mantras. This is one brand that’s truly captured the millennial mindset.
A writer, author, speaker and coach, James M. Sama is one of the foremost relationship experts of our time. I first found James about seven or eight years ago, when he was building his site and blogging like crazy. We connected on social media over our like-minded values and passion for motivating others. Since then, James has gone on to do countless speaking engagements all over the world, garner millions of visits to his content and even write a book. This guy is a powerhouse. Don’t let the fancy cars and the outwardly glamorous lifestyle fool you—James is a real, down-to-Earth guy who understands how to transcend your personal limits and build connections that are lasting and fulfilling. And that’s pretty damn rad.
Founded by Mark Groves, @createthelove focuses on Mark’s specialty: Human connection. With posts ranging from serious to silly, this account will help you foster and cultivate more self-love by learning about boundaries, judgment, expectations, communication and more. And we could all use a little more of that in our lives.
I discovered Ruby Dhal’s account a couple of months ago and have been obsessed ever since. A quick glance at her feed will show you just how in-depth she goes with her writing. But don’t mistake the quantity of her words as a sacrifice on quality because it most certainly is not. Ruby is gifted in every sense of the word. Check out her posts and read how she expresses herself from the depths of her soul and you’ll understand just why I love following her.
Here’s how @wetheurban describes their account in their Instagram bio: “We are a creative digital magazine celebrating inclusivity, self-love and excellence in art, fashion, music and pop culture.” Edgy, woke and real are a few words I’d use to describe their posts on the platform. They really do have a unique look and feel. And that’s why I make room for them in my Instagram follow list.
Yung Pueblo is the pen name for Diego Perez, a meditator, writer and speaker based in NYC. His account is nothing short of a delight to follow. @Yung_Pueblo’s posts are short and sweet, but they pack a punch of perspective that always helps me re-center when my energy isn’t aligned or I’m not acting consciously to embrace the present and welcome the future. Yung Pueblo’s work is truly indispensable. Be sure to check it out.
Maryam Hasnaa is bringing conscious healing to the mainstream through posts about inner child work, building and keeping boundaries and more. For all those interested in healing their traumas and shifting their perception of the past, this account is a must-follow.
Created and run by Elizabeth Gray, @thegraytergood is a creative collection of lettering and inspiration all rolled into one account. All of Elizabeth’s work is instantly recognizable and has a warm and approachable feel to it. Definitely worth the follow—especially if you are a designer or are into calligraphy.
I love Adam’s bio because it really says it all: “Artist, author, brand, speaker, kinda just whatever they let me do?” His strong sense of aesthetic and sarcastic realism make for a fascinating, distinctive blend that you’ll be sure to enjoy popping into your feed every now and then.
Matt Haig is a bestselling author whose no-holds-barred approach to social media is refreshing to say the least. If there’s one thing that he does well, it’s keep it real. Look out for his posts on mental health, happiness and more. They’re sure to make you stop and pay attention. And, in today’s world, that’s one of the hardest things to do.
Energy. Healing. Presence. Consciousness. All of these concepts and more come to mind when I think of the @chopracenter presence on Instagram. Truth be told, their account has a soothing feel to it, almost like you’re riding alone on an open highway in the middle of nowhere with the windows down. It’s truly a breath of fresh air that you’ll welcome into your feed with open arms.
Kristen’s goal as a life and mindset coach is to help in “rewriting subconscious patterning and limiting beliefs to consciously manifest your desires.” And, boy, does her account do that. Her posts are nothing short of powerful and illuminating, helping to shine a bold beacon of truth on your life and any challenges you may be facing at this moment. I highly recommend checking out this feed—but it might not be for those just starting out on a healing journey or an inspiration kick.
A corresponding Instagram presence for a podcast of the same name, @lightworkerslounge is a playful curation of inspiration you may or may not find elsewhere on Instagram. I love following accounts that repost graphics from elsewhere because it’s a great way to stumble upon other artists and creators whom you wouldn’t otherwise discover on your own. And that’s the beauty of this feed. Give it a shot!
Najwa Zebian is an author and poet whose words cut straight to the heart. I find a lot of her posts uplifting and reaffirming, especially when I’m feeling down on myself. Explore her feed and see if you feel the same!
This account is one of the edgier ones I follow, and it definitely leans more heavily into the culture portion of its “Culture. Consciousness. Change.” bio. This account will make you laugh. This account will make you say, “wow, I never thought of it like that.” This account will open your eyes. Like a guru who just smoked a lot of weed and is on some other level, @cushandwizdom will keep you entertained and provide a solid dose of enlightenment, too.
Dr. Nicole LePera is a psychologist who teaches “you to heal and consciously create who you want to become.” With a solid basis in psychological principles, @the.holistic.psychologist leans more heavily into healing from a therapeutic standpoint, while also shining a light on the issues you might be facing in your life. Her work is impactful and insightful and will most certainly improve your life. Go ahead—welcome her into your Instagram feed!
I love @vexking’s account because it has an original look and feel to it. I can instantly recognize one of his posts in my feed. As a writer and a mind coach, Vex uses his Instagram presence to help you challenge your assumptions and see the events of your life in a new light. And that’s a shift in perception we could all use in our lives.
“Vienna Pharaon is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in NYC,” according to her bio. And her Instagram account can help you experience a profound shift in consciousness and awareness in your life. From discussing old patterns that may not be serving you, to helping you see that better things are coming in your life, Vienna’s words have the power to lift you up in even the darkest times. Go peruse her account for yourself and you’ll see just what I mean.
This account is all about female empowerment—and I absolutely love it! From the unique blend of yellow and black on their graphics to the keep-it-real approach they take to writing their copy and captions, I appreciate how accessible they make optimism for the everyday individual. If you want to feel like you can conquer the world, give this feed a follow.
In the same vein as @sheconquers, @thefemalehustlers aims to “empower babes—babes who want to make a change in this world.” If that’s not impactful, I don’t know what is! To top it off, this feed has a sophisticated aesthetic that elevates the messages that they post. I love the quote graphic format that they use, and how they keep their captions short and sweet. There’s nothin’ like a shining a light on women who are slaying the game! If you want more of that in your life, then by all means give this one a follow.
As the bio for this account states, “the defining quality of the human soul
is the power of speech.” Talk about a substantial statement—and a true one, too. This feed is another one that curates a variety of fascinating and lively content from all over the Web. But regardless of the source, each post will empower and encourage you to live your best life. And that’s an awesome thing.
This Instagram feed is captivating and compelling in both its artistic approach and its content. Each post feels like a poster in and of itself and, in that regard, it’s extremely shareable and fun. From self-care to gratitude and beyond, this account is one of the best on the list—and one of the lesser-known accounts, too. Give her a follow. She’s worthy of one!
Run by a woman named Victoria Elizabeth (perhaps a pen name), this Instagram profile posts a lot of everyday wisdom that’s deep but relatable. And with a name like “love a bit louder today” who can really object? I enjoy the original thoughts and regular rousing images she posts. And I think you will, too.
Dharma Love is a self-proclaimed spiritual healer and teacher, whose posts focus on releasing energy, undoing old patterns and more healing advice that’ll hit you straight in your soul. I like the ethereal feel of her posts and how in touch with her spirit she is. It’s really inspiring to see someone in the flow like she normally is. Check her out!
Pierre Jeanty is a poet and author whose words really rally the masses. Whether he’s writing about love, beauty, mourning or any of the other topics he discusses, the way that Pierre speaks is enchanting and delightful. If you like poetry and quotes, he’s your guy.
Run by Ruben Chavez, @thinkgrowprosper shares “insights and resources to enrich your mind and improve your life.” Ruben has a podcast of the same name as well. What I like about this feed is that it doesn’t always follow the same rigid format that other inspirational Instagram feeds do. There’s a nice mix of posts that will keep you hooked and lured back again and again.
Calm is the “#1 app for sleep, relaxation and meditation” and is an account with a simple mission: To help you “take a deep breath.” As its name suggests, their whole feed is focused on creating a vibe and a feeling of calmness and stillness and space. I love how, no matter the time of day or how quickly I may be scrolling, I’m instantly reminded to take a deep breath and do a brief body scan when I see their posts. Following @calm is truly like a breath of fresh air after feeling suffocated for far too long. Give ‘em a shot—you won’t be disappointed.
Bianca Sparacino is the creator of @rainbowsalt, and also the Creative Director at Thought Catalog in NYC. And you can tell her creative chops just based on a quick look at her account. It’s simple and elegant and really makes the long copy included on most graphics pop to the eye. But more than the design and aesthetic choices she’s made, her words are wise and refreshing, like a hug from a loved one after a long day. Highly recommend giving her a follow.
Stacie Swift is such an awesome artist to follow. She literally shines a bright light on self-care and other important topics through the use of colorful and playful illustrations that you just can’t help but love. Truth is, our world needs more of that brilliant energy of Stacie’s. And you, too, can have it if you give her a follow!
Run by an LGBTQ psychotherapist named Nick Fager, @gaytherapy provides “daily tips for living an empowered queer life.” As a gay man, it can be difficult to find motivation or empowerment that fits into the context of the LGBTQ community. But Nick’s posts cut straight to the heart of what it means to live as a member of the LGBTQ community in 2019. And he posts powerful yet pragmatic perspective and advice that has helped me in some of my darkest moments. For that reason and so many more, check out @gaytherapy.
One of the more mysterious accounts on the list with no bio or name attached to it, this feed posts an amalgamation of inspiration from across the Web that will most certainly make you think. And maybe even find a new way of looking at your life.
This account is different from almost any other one on my list. Why? Because it’s run by a married couple by the names of Marc and Angel Chernoff. The Chernoffs are bestselling authors who have “spent the past decade studying and writing about what it takes to find happiness, love and peace.” And that decade of experience really shows in the quality of their posts. Each Instagram is chock-full of advice and enlightenment that will truly help you go to the next level in your life.
I love the way Alexandra Elle describes her feed: “Taking care. Sharing stories,” she proclaims in the bio for her Instagram account. Her presence is such a beam of light in the darkness—a little bit of hope when times feel hopeless. Alexandra owns her mind and her body and isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and let you in close up. I love that about her. She is a woman standing in her truth and radiating positive energy in the world. And that’s why she deserves a spot on this list—and in your feed.
If, like me, you’re someone who’s focused on personal development and growth, then @dailygrowthquotes is certainly the account for you. It’s a mishmash of various quotes and graphics from the inspirational community at large, but it’s fun and helpful, too.
Similar to other curated inspirational feeds, @peace_love_light has a little bit of everything. This feed isn’t for those looking for an aesthetic, but it is for those who just want a little more love and light in their lives.
I really love what this account put in their bio: “You can have, do and be anything you desire!” What I love about @law.of.attraction1111 is that they post every day with that day’s date at the top of the graphic and a lot of copy dedicated to how you can attract what you want into your life. If you want to manifest more motivation, give this Instagram feed a follow.
This feed, like several others on the list, features a lot of text-heavy illustrated graphics that are sourced from a variety of other artists, writers and motivators. Unlike other feeds, though, this one is focused on a younger millennial audience that appreciates humor and a little wit. Check it out if you like a twist with your tantalizing quotes.
Similar to the Chopra Center, this aesthetic of this account is so comforting that I can’t help but enjoy each post when I see it in my feed. Aligning their wisdom with the zodiac and other spiritual systems, @kabbalahcentre is for those high-minded individuals who may be more advanced on their journey to enlightenment and healing.
Joshua Mark Dixon is a self-identified owner of three “fast growing businesses” according to his bio. But the reason I enjoy following him is because he’s an everyday fella who’s working hard to achieve success and motivating others along the way. And that’s inspiring in and of itself.
There’s a reason this account spells vybe with a “y”: It stands for “Visualize Yourself Better Everyday.” Their bio goes on to state that their mission is “to help you reach your highest potential in life,” which is an incredible goal to strive for. Similar to @law.of.attraction1111, @vybesource posts an illustrated text graphic each day with that day’s date at the top and the same opening line: “Your true self is saying to you today:” followed by an encouraging and empowering few lines of copy. It’s that consistent experience that keeps me coming back. And hopefully it’ll do the same for you.
Steve Maraboli is a writer, speaker and entertainer whose posts will make you laugh and say “wow!” at the same time. Steve’s presence is a bit more blunt than others on the list, featuring curse words and a straightforward tone that cuts through the bullshit. I appreciate that sort of thing. If you do, too, then check him out and give him a follow.