We’ve all been there- staring at a blank screen, throwing endless drafts in the trash, pulling out hair, scrolling through Facebook photos, re-ordering music libraries and even wiping the computer clean. We do anything to pass the time and avoid admitting the painfully obvious – we’ve hit a block.
We are the cultivators and sole fuel source of the blocks we experience. Blocks are usually an indication that we’ve taken our focus off of what we want and placed it firmly on what we don’t.
This is a good thing as it means that we decide how big our blocks grow and for how long. Sometimes, our blocks are more resilient than usual, refusing to leave.
The following five tips on overcoming mental blocks that are designed to help you clear away the mental cobwebs, allowing you to get back to the creative flow where you belong.
Hit the Shower
Blocks of any nature are a result of one thing: not being firmly in the present.
Through either anxiously living in an anticipated future or stuck in the habitual past, we cut ourselves off from the inspiration and creativity that exists when we are fully present.
Taking a shower is a simple and effective way to bring our attention firmly back to the present moment. Additionally, taking a shower allows us to relax, enabling us to develop more ideas and creative solutions to our problems. It also has positive effects to our health and outlook in life.
Seek Out Sweat Sessions
Sometimes, an effective way to get creative is to engage in any high intensity activity or exercise.
Whether this involves a casual stroll in the park or running up mountains, anything that gets you into a different environment, preferably one with fresh air and nature, often does the trick.
Any activity that will cause you to become present and grounded in the now is great for jump-starting your creativity and circumventing blocks. You can try trail running, going to the gym, practicing yoga, doing Pilates or dancing.
Besides the obvious physical benefits and the released endorphins, a high quality high intensity work out is a great way to shift your focus back to the present. It’s difficult to stay hung up on your block when your heart is pounding and your lungs are pleading for air.
Author’s note: After experiencing such severe sweat sessions in the past where I’ve managed to forget not only my problems but my own name, I advise not overdoing this one. Everything in moderation, as they say.
Change the Channel
“If you want to solve a problem, stop participating in it.” – Jonathan Mead
Blocks arise when we focus on what we don’t want, instead of what we do want. When we take our attention off our initial aim and allow it to drift to places it has no business being, we end up going down a dead-end street. The next thing we know, we have a big hairy mental block sitting on our desk.
A great trick for removing said hairy beast is to change the channel or input we are putting our attention to. One way to do this is to do something completely unrelated to the problem you are working on. For example, you could be writing a piece for a magazine only to be hijacked by the most heinous mental block.
Usually, you would have thrown your hands up in the air, pounded your stapler, and started seeing how many times you can spin around on your chair in one go. Now, you calmly take a deep breath, before opening up the TED Talks YouTube Page and selecting the first video to catch your attention.
20 minutes later, the new you sits back feeling totally inspired.
Change the Environment
This is a great trick for disarming mental blocks that don’t seem to go away.
Our brains are pattern-making machines and that’s their job. They make patterns based on our thoughts, words, and actions.
Very often, our blocks result from us getting stuck in an unwanted pattern of thought. It becomes a routine which eventually becomes an unwanted rut.
A great way to “reset” an unwanted rut is to change the environment we have become so used to.
This applies to both our outer and inner world. It can be as simple as taking a holiday to a place we’ve never been before or taking a course we would never normally go to.
Anything that disrupts the same old routine can be incredibly effective at helping us broaden our perspective. Ultimately, it’ll help us see new solutions to old problems.
If anyone asks, simply say you’re doing it in the interests of producing better work.
Still Stuck? Ask for Help
“The definition of Sanity is to continue to do it differently until such time as you actually create the desired results.” – Anonymous
If you find you’re still stuck after doing some of the suggestions above, it may be time to ask someone for help.
No one is truly successful alone. By asking for help, you not only benefit from someone else’s objective perspective, but you are also able to provide someone else with the opportunity to help solve a problem.
For the DIY high achievers, this may be difficult at first. However, the more you do it, the easier it gets. The benefits that result from the collaboration or consultation can truly be astonishing.
Ensure that you ask someone whose opinion you trust and preferably someone who has successfully dealt with a similar situation before. There’s a reason why so many opinions are free in this world.
Written by Christopher, a certified coach, NLP teacher and workshop facilitator who enjoys working with people from all walks of life. In his former life, he worked for companies like American Express and Volkswagen. Preferring to keep things simple, he helps people get clear on who they are, where they want to go and how they are going to get there, ensuring certainty and accountability in the process. Anyone interested in improving their quality of life, can check out his new website: www.real-wellness.net.