How To Overcome The Dreaded Mental Block

girl struggling at work

After racking your brain for hours on a project, it’s easy to feel like you have no creative juices left. Maybe you’re caught up in perfection or overwhelmed with the task at hand, but feeling stuck is totally normal when it comes to creativity.

Whether you’re designing, writing, building, or brainstorming something, we’ve all experienced a mental block. In fact, it’s a part of the creative process that can eventually yield game changing breakthroughs…if you can overcome them.

The next time you lose the motivation to continue, instead of getting frustrated and discouraged, try out these 5 effective tips we use at DIEMlife to help unleash our creativity.

puppies napping in bed

1. Take a cat nap
If you’re feeling slow and tired, give yourself a few minutes to refresh. Getting enough rest for your brain and body is crucial for creative intelligence. Rest allows our brain to make connections between pieces of information that we might otherwise miss when we’re tired. We find that a 20-minute nap is the perfect amount of time for a refresher. When we’re really crunched for time, six minutes can still do the trick. If you have no appropriate place to nap, take one minute to close your eyes and slow down your breathing. It’s not the same as 20 minutes but you can still get some benefits from just a minute of calming your mind. Try using an eye mask to block out light to get the maximum benefits of your shut-eye time.

 

girl listening with headphones

2. Find inspiration from others
Sometimes we get stuck with tunnel vision because we’re thinking from just one perspective. When you start thinking in circles, a great place for inspiration is other people. This includes mentors, influencers, and colleagues you admire. Strike up a conversation with them about the topic you’re stuck on and hear them out. They may give you new ideas on how to approach the problem, or at least give  tips that you can run with. If you’re going at it alone, take to the internet. Nowadays, it’s no surprise that someone’s already created a video or podcast on the topic you’re struggling with. Break down what worked for them and you’ll get the inspiration to start creating something unique of your own.

 

creative doodling

3. Let your mind wander
When you’re stuck, it’s like you’re holding your mind prison. Do yourself a favor and break it free by doodling or freewriting. The technique of writing or drawing whatever is on your mind is commonly used by writers and artists to brainstorm ideas and re-energize their thoughts. Give yourself a 10-minute break to draw or write down whatever comes to mind, whether it’s related or  unrelated to your work. It may look like gibberish at first, but ideas will soon start to flow. Allowing your mind to wander right in front of you will allow you to see all the different options you can group together and explore.

 

couple at sunrise

4. Stimulate your senses
Most of us sit and stare at a screen for eight hours a day. What does this mean if our brains are wired to associate places and routines with feelings and activities? Sitting in the same place doing, hearing, smelling and seeing the same things can make  you feel stuck in a mental rut. Just changing your environment or stimulating your senses can activate parts of the brain that may be underutilized. It could be as easy as changing your view with a computer wallpaper or listening to your favorite music. If you have the freedom to leave your seat, change it up and move to a different seat in the office or even to a coffee shop. Sometimes, even taking a minute to consciously stop looking at your work to look at something else can get your mind firing differently.

 

girl stretching yoga pose

5. Get your blood flowing
Movement is a natural mind-cleanser and mood enhancer. Getting your blood flowing can link your positive mood to positive thinking, allowing your conscious mind to access fresh ideas. Physical movement gets your heart pumping faster, circulating more blood and oxygen to your muscles, organs and, most importantly, to your brain. The next time you’re starved for brain power, take a break and go for a brisk walk or do a few easy stretches right at your desk. You may just get that “eureka!” moment you’ve been looking for.

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