Here are 25 of our favorite sites for inspiring, thought-provoking, and uplifting content. Some of these sites contain stories of people battling with and overcoming adversity, others focus on the more lighthearted aspects of life, and some are simply fun to read.
- Ben Franklin’s daily schedule [http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickbilton/3779169741/ ]
Benjamin Franklin invented the bifocals, the lightning rod, and the first odometer, and helped draft the Constitution, among his many feats. He’s probably one of the most productive people of all time—so there’s a lot we can all learn from his daily schedule. Each morning, follow Ben’s example and ask yourself: “What good shall I do this day?”
- CNN Heroes [ http://cnnheroes.com ]
This section of CNN’s websites honors everyday heroes who strive to make the world a better place.
- Flickr – Most Interesting Photos [ http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/ ]
Out of the millions of photos uploaded to Flickr’s galleries from all over the world, this is the page where the ones deemed the most interesting are spotlighted. Just hit refresh for a new page of photos, as often as you like.
- Gives Me Hope [ http://www.givesmehope.com/ ]
Givesmehope.com is a site for people to submit short, anonymous entries about inspiring moments in their own lives. Read the heartwarming entries, and submit your own.
- Guideposts [http://guideposts.org]
This website features inspiring and positive content about celebrities and everyday heroes.
- The Happiness Project [http://happiness-project.com]
If you’re a regular reader of our site, you’re sure to be familiar with The Happiness Project, a blog we syndicate every week . In the blog, writer Gretchen Rubin analyzes many different methods of increasing happiness, and shares tips on what works.
- Help Others [http://www.helpothers.org]
This wonderful site features hundreds of reader-submitted stories of acts of kindness they’ve witnessed. It also offers free Smile Cards, which you can use in a game of pay-it-forward good deeds.
- iJourney [http://ijourney.org]
iJourney, short for “inner journey” offers a weekly reading from a famous thinker, writer, or philosopher, with the chance to offer your own reflections in response.
- Letters of Note [http://www.lettersofnote.com/]
Here, you’ll find tons of scanned copies of vintage letters written by famous people throughout history, which often reveal much more about them than the tabloids and history books do.
- Matt Logelin’s blog [http://www.mattlogelin.com/]
Two years ago, Matt Logelin’s wife Liz died just hours after their daughter, Maddy, was born. In his blog, he transforms his grief into beauty with heartfelt stories about his new life as a widower dad, and lovely photographs of his growing daughter. The site contains some strong language, so if that bugs you, don’t visit—but otherwise, you’re in for a moving, bittersweet journey through one man’s struggle to come to terms with the loss of one great love, while gaining a new one.
- ental Floss [http://mentalfloss.com]
Like its associated magazine, Mental Floss’ blog offers up weird, random, and unusual facts about everything under the sun. If you’re looking for something quirky to discuss at a dinner party, hang out here for a while and you’ll find some great conversation points.
- My Parents Were Awesome[http://myparentswereawesome.tumblr.com/]
Everyone’s parents were cool… once upon a time. This site has a huge collection of vintage photos of submitters’ parents, decked out in bell bottoms or poodle skirts. Make sure to submit a pic of your own parents from back in the day!
- NieNie Dialogues [http://www.nieniedialogues.blogspot.com/]
Written by mother of four Stephanie Nielson, this blog uses words and photography to document her joy-filled life—both before and after the plane crash that nearly killed her and her husband.
- Not Martha [http://notmartha.org]
For those with a flair for crafts and cooking, this site is a haven full of fun and unique ideas, featuring original crafts, recipes, and links to other cool stuff around the web.
- Notes From the Road [http://www.notesfromtheroad.com/]
This stunning site features a professional photographer’s collection of musings and images from his travels all around the world.
- Ode [http://www.odemagazine.com/]
This website and magazine focuses on the “intelligent optimist,” with articles spotlighting incredible activists and events from all around the world.
- Operation NICE [http://www.operationnice.com/]
The great blog Operation NICE covers stories of random acts of kindness, reviews of nice stuff, and provides readers with nice assignments, such as “mail a card to a stranger.”
- Poets.org [http://poets.org]
If you’re looking for literary inspiration, you won’t do better than poets.org, a site from the Academy of American Poets, which features great works from hundreds of renowned and little known poets. Many poems are grouped into themed collections, helping you find the ideal verse for any event.
- PostSecret [http://postsecret.com]
Got a secret you’re afraid to share? Illustrate a postcard and send it anonymously to PostSecret. Each week, the site’s owner compiles the best cards he’s received: some are shocking, some are sad, some are heart-warming. All of them are worth a look. (Some entries are risqué, so if you’re easily offended, view at your own discretion.)
- TakePart [http://takepart.com]
Created by Participant Media (the team behind an Inconvenient Truth and many other activism-focused movies), TakePart offers a daily blog focused on important issues in the world today, an online community where you can help change the world, and a series of take-action campaigns.
- TED [http://ted.com]
The annual TED conference is an opportunity for thought leaders in every field to share their remarkable ideas and experiences with others. Though most of us can’t afford the admission fee, TED videotapes every lecture and categorizes them by theme and emotion, offering them all for free on their website. It’s a fantastic outlet for learning from some of the most brilliant minds of our time.
- Twitter [http://twitter.com]
True, some people use Twitter to write about what they had for lunch—but the service can also be used as a great way to discover fascinating people and incredible links.
- WebUrbanist [http://weburbanist.com]
There are plenty of beautiful, unique, and bizarre items and places around the world that you’ve probably never caught a glimpse of. Web Urbanist points them all out for you with amazing photo galleries.
- Worldchanging [http://worldchanging.org]
This site offers thought-provoking articles and essays on innovative technology and tools to help build a brighter, greener future.
- Zen Habits [http://zenhabits.net]
In Zen Habits, the blog for simple productivity, Leo Babauta and a team of guest bloggers offer up a series of great tips on how to reduce the clutter in your life and focus on what really matters.