Do you usually struggle on how to get over a mental block? It doesn’t just happen to artists or creatives, everyone has had to overcome a mental block at some point in their lives. Creativity, inspiration, clarity… the qualities that allow us to have the best and most efficient performance are not always present.
Sometimes, while working, we reach a dead-end because of rushing, a poor working environment, lack of information, multitasking, or accumulated work. In those cases, our internal movement stops, we are unable to move forward: we don’t understand a problem, we do not know what decision to make or we can’t think of any strategy to follow. Then, our task turns into how to get over a mental block.
Miracles for performance dead-ends do not exist, but we can count on some everyday tricks to overcome a mental block. It is true that not all of them are valid for any type of blockage and that not all of them could be used at any time. However, it is not a bad idea to have them in your repertoire in case you need any of them when your mind gets stuck like a car in mud.
Tips on how to get over a mental blocks
1. Time out. Stop, pause, don’t go in a loop. Take a break, let the task rest, and go back to it when you feel your inspiration is fresher.
2. Change your method. Do the same thing but in a different way. If the method you are using is not producing results or is exhausting you, stop doing what you are doing and change an element to see if the results show and you can get over your mental block.
3. Turn to music. If the silence is getting tiresome, put on some background music, or play a couple of lively songs to cheer you up or activate you. Dance, sing, mobilize energies, let the tension of the mind dilute towards the body, let yourself unwind.
4. Speak about it with someone who can guide you. Sometimes it may be a colleague who is very familiar with your task or someone completely external to it who can bring freshness and spontaneity. Exchanging views and impressions are always refreshing.
5. Meditate (or better yet, meditate every day). If you are not in the habit of meditating, maybe it’s time to learn some simple techniques. The practice of mindfulness does not produce a sudden miracle, but it helps to train your attention, reduces the dispersion of your mind, and favors the clarity and connection of ideas.
6. Do more physical activity. Go outside and unwind. Go for walk or, if you can and if you’re in the habit, run a few miles. At least take a walk around the block. Get some air and sunlight. The act of running and, above all, the act of walking is an unlimited source of new ideas because they order the ones we have already gathered in our conscience.
7. Do fieldwork. Search the Internet, research, read, investigate where you have not yet done so. Maybe there’s some angle you’re missing or some point of view you haven’t taken into account yet. See how others do what you are trying to do, get ideas, and start giving a concrete form to your abstract ideas.
8. Eat, drink, sleep. The mind does not feed on air but on the fuel we put into it: water, food, and rest. It’s indeed unlikely that we’ll come up with a great idea just by eating, but sooner or later we have to add vitamins to the inspiration to make it shine. We can’t be dull or lacking in tone: we have to be present.
9. Rethink the task. Sometimes we get blocked not because we have reached a dead-end in the task we are performing, but because we have reached -literally- the goal of that task: it’s already complete, there is nothing more to do. If this is not the case, then before banging our heads against the wall to force creativity, perhaps it is better to rethink: is the goal I have set myself suitable, will anything happen if we leave it here, am I the right person to continue the task? When we wonder how to get over a mental block the answer is just a matter of redefining.
10. Simply act, get down to it, concentrate and do what you have to do without the eagerness to get the best result immediately, but to uncage the mind and set it in motion. Sooner or later, results will appear and you will be able to polish and remove what is leftover later on. The inspiration and the unblocking come with effort.