Unblock Your Mental Blocks and Unleash Your Creativity
We have all had mental blocks: we suddenly can’t continue on a train of thought and we are creatively stuck, or can’t dig up a memory that’s on the tip of our tongues (and it’s crucial for the task at hand)…
Writer’s block is a classic mental block. This condition – where a writer cannot produce new work – is not limited to writers. Any creative endeavor can suffer a mental block; like a dam in a river, ideas are stuck upstream and cannot flow.
First, you can’t lose the ability to express an idea. Even though some famous writers experienced blocks that lasted many years (some even abandoned writing), their abilities didn’t vanish from their heads, never to be found. As it turns out, their mindset was all wrong.
A mental block is a complex, intertwined series of emotions and mental processes:
- lack of confidence (viewing your work as inferior and becoming paralyzed wondering what others will think of it)
- pressure of past successes (can success ever be duplicated or was it a “one-hit wonder”?)
- lack of inspiration
- lack of focus/too many distractions/inability to regain focus
All mental blocks are in your head and they can ALL be overcome:
1. Relieve stress. When you’re stressed, the limbic system (“fight or flight”) takes control – causing you to react instinctively according to your conditioning. It doesn’t matter if you’re running from a wild animal or you have a pressing deadline, the emotional response is the same – find a way to be safe. There is no mental capacity for creativity under stress – stress must be relieved.
Meditate, exercise, be in Nature, listen to music… clear stressful thoughts from your mind to unblock your creativity. Learn to control your thoughts and emotions so you aren’t distracted by them.
2. Stop being so hard on yourself. Stop saying, “I am (x) years old! What have I done with my life? I haven’t discovered anything, done anything, been anywhere… what can I possibly know or do that anybody would care about?” NOT GOOD! You can see how destructive that is, yet most of us do it regularly and very well.
You have a talent (or several). Because those talents come easily to you, you automatically think they’re not worth anything… but how many people stand in awe of your ability to master math formulas, bake delectable pastries, ride a bicycle up mountains, teach preschoolers or calm unruly dogs? You may find it easy to do your business accounting; others turn pale and run for the door. You may find it easy to repair an internal combustion engine; others stand by helplessly. Just because YOU can do it doesn’t mean everyone else can, yet you put your amazing gifts down… so stop! Believe in your gifts. See your talents how others see them.Your creativity is blocked by your inability to express your talents without fear of being judged or ridiculed. Allow your talents to blossom!
Stress and fear are the #1 mental blocks. Use the Love or Above Spiritual Toolkit to clear these negative energies and allow your creativity to flow!
3. Create something. Anything.Turn on the mental faucet, and who cares if the water is murky at first? Write, draw, doodle, build, churn out inordinate amounts of what you consider junk – just DO something – this is essential! Every bit helps clear the blocks in the most delightful ways. Even if you think you’re producing junk, something good is coming of it; some great idea takes hold and stars to grow. For example, if you’re an architect, draw the most ridiculous, unworkable plans, freely exploring one silly idea after another; great ideas come from these early ramblings.
4. Carry a notebook. The great thinkers of the world are spontaneous doodlers and scribblers. Don’t let a brilliant idea catch you unprepared. You don’t want to remember that you had a brilliant idea. You want to remember the idea. Smartphones, iPads or plain old fashioned notebooks are essential creativity tools. Good ideas don’t always come when it’s convenient. Be ready to catch them on the fly! Doodle and scribble random thoughts; often the seeds of great ideas!
5. Exercise. Sitting for long periods turns your blood and your mental processes to sludge. Take brisk walks during your work day. Daily exercise oxygenates your brain and takes you away from your project or problem.
6. Take a break. Get away from your project or problem. DO NOT think about it. Go on to something else and revisit it later with fresh eyes and a fresh mind.
7. Let go of trying to find the “right” answer. Is there only one “right” answer? Learn to see from the perspective of successful accomplishment: you’ve already written the book, built the palace, fixed the problem…
8. Play with it. Have fun. Don’t take it so seriously. Take the pressure off and make it a game. To a creative mind, play and work are the same.
9. Be okay with being wrong. Sometimes creativity is blocked by fear: being wrong, rejection, failure… Learning from mistakes is great – but first you have to be okay with making mistakes!
10. Step outside of logic and practicality. Logic is not always the solution. If your intuition says “sit back and let this evolve” – yet logic says “fix it by taking action” – follow your intuition; don’t force things just because logic dictates action. Crazy ideas are sometimes the best, even if they defy logic and practicality. After all, flying through the air in a machine is a crazy idea, right?
11. Break rules. Rules can be useful but what if they are arbitrary? Question everything. Why has it always been done this way? What if I did it THIS way? Just because “groupthink” zigs doesn’t mean you can’t zag.
12. Realize that all of your blocks are imaginary. Your mental blocks are illusions created by you! Don’t look for something that will inspire your creativity or unblock your mental processes.You already have the capability. Your creativity is real. The blocks are illusory.