We all go through mental blocks from time to time, and when they happen, it can get frustrating. For starters, if it's during a vital business shift, it's hard to keep pushing on. However, even if a mental block may hit and reduces creative thinking, There are still ways to overcome the hurdle. Let's learn some ways to overcome the mental block and check out our free webinar training for additional online business tips.
Copyblogger tells us that there's no such thing as a “right” answer and in fact, it doesn't make sense to get caught up in that. Instead of thinking there's only one answer that'll work, think outside the box. It turns out that it's possible to reframe the issues and discover an even better solution to the problem!
Trying to find the “right” answer
One of the worst aspects of formal education is the focus on the correct answer to a particular question or problem.
While this approach helps us function in society, it hurts creative thinking because real-life issues are ambiguous. There’s often more than one “correct” answer, and the second one you come up with might be better than the first.
Many of the following mental blocks can be turned around to reveal ways to find more than one answer to any given problem.
Try reframing the issue in several different ways in order to prompt different answers and embrace answering inherently ambiguous questions in several different ways.
Not only is real life ambiguous, it’s often illogical to the point of madness.
While critical thinking skills based on logic are one of our main strengths in evaluating the feasibility of a creative idea, it’s often the enemy of truly innovative thoughts in the first place.
One of the best ways to escape the constraints of your own logical mind is to think metaphorically.
One of the reasons why metaphors work so well is that we accept them as true without thinking about it. When you realize that “truth” is often symbolic, you’ll often find that you are actually free to come up with alternatives.
If you have an online business and feel disorganized, Fine Art Tips recommends trying a few different things. Sometimes to feel creative again, you need a change in environment. Similarly, being out in nature gives you a good break from “overthinking.” After enjoying your time outdoors, you may come back refreshed and full of new and fresh ideas!
Change or Clean Your Environment:
If you already have a workspace, realize it is not just an office or studio – it is a creative environment. We are a product of our environment. Therefore, if your environment is dark, cluttered, dusty, cramped or messy, how can you create at your best? You cannot perform and create when you are uncomfortable and ill at-ease.
Boost your creativity by clearing your desk, cleaning your paintbrushes; organize loose papers, books and other materials. This goes a long way toward enhancing your creativity and efficiency.
Make sure you are happy with the colors that surround you. Research shows that color can play a major role in our overall state of well-being. The colors we surround ourselves with directly influence the way we feel, relax and create. To learn more about color, an interesting ‘must’ read: Use the Hidden Meaning of Color in Your Art.
Surround yourself with comfortable, favorite things that make you want to stay and work within your creative work environment!
Get Back to Nature:
Getting outside and into nature is a very important part of my personal creative process and apparently this strategy works well for many others. A recent study found that people learned significantly, retained knowledge and de-stressed better after a walk in nature than after a walk in a dense urban environment. Constantly processing a barrage of information leaves people fatigued. It is important to escape from it.
Try and set aside some time each day to ‘get back to nature’…even a walk around the block is often enough to help you unwind. If you are unable to actually get away from the chaos or city life, try spending time staring at fish swimming in a fish-tank, enjoy arranging some flowers or re-potting a plant. If you can…take a vacation!
Get in touch with the ‘child within’…allow yourself time to think, explore and wander aimlessly through a garden, on a nature walk, or even a shopping mall! Children are the best creators of all, become one again.
Ladders explain how talking it over with a friend in the business or tuning it out can help clear your mind. Sometimes all you need is a new perspective. Or, taking the time not to think and focus on your surroundings has many benefits. One way to implement this is by doing meditation.
Talk it over
A problem shared is a problem halved. Simply talking about your creative block with another like-minded person can help you to feel less pressure and consequently less stress.
Talking can also stimulate new ideas and give you a fresh perspective on your creative problem. If your creative block is affecting your work, consider working collaboratively with another colleague to help share the physical and mental load.
Mindful meditation has become common practice in business as a way to eliminate stress, but it also has a significant impact on your creativity. The key to meditation is to tune out the background noise that can clutter your thinking and enhance the important factors that contribute to creative thought–lateral thinking, focus and resilience.
Studies suggest that even 10 minutes of mindful meditation can help eliminate a creative block. But, if you think that you can’t set aside time for meditation, one of the best places to practice mindful meditation is in the shower. Shower meditation takes only 5 minutes out of your busy morning and can prepare you for a productive day of creative thinking.
Are you too “serious”? Sometimes all it takes is lightening up and not being so intense that you forget you have a life to live also. That's why Copyblogger points out that it's okay to mistakes. Why? Because when we make mistakes, we can learn solutions to the problem and potentially how to improve business systems.
Being a “serious” person
Most of what keeps us civilized boils down to conformity, consistency, shared values, and yes, thinking about things the same way everyone else does.
There’s nothing wrong with that necessarily, but if you can mentally accept that it’s actually nothing more than groupthink that helps a society function, you can then give yourself permission to turn everything that’s accepted upside down and shake out the illusions.
Leaders from Egyptian pharaohs to Chinese emperors and European royalty have consulted with fools, or court jesters, when faced with tough problems.
The persona of the fool allowed the truth to be told, without the usual ramifications that might come with speaking blasphemy or challenging ingrained social conventions.
Give yourself permission to be a fool and see things for what they really are.
Huffington Post explains how becoming too busy can prevent your creative juices from flowing. So if you're much too busy to think, you should consider cutting back on your work.
You’re too busy
Stress and excessive busyness are common causes of creative dry-spells — so try slowing down! Giving your mind the freedom to wander is essential to fostering creativity and innovative thinking, according to Gary Klein, author of “Seeing What Others Don't: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights.” Recent neuroscience research confirms that daydreaming involves the same brain processes that spark imagination and creativity.
“I worry about people who spend all their empty time when they're not in conversations listening to music or podcasts or things like that, and not leaving any space to just daydream,” Klein told The Huffington Post.
When you're feeling stressed or over-booked, making a little time in your schedule to simply do nothing can actually boost productivity — an innovation secret favored by LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.
For a few more tips on how to break free of a mental block, Entrepreneur recommends tackling smaller tasks first and learning something new. Learning something new can give you many ideas and expand your knowledge. And, by breaking tasks down it'll be a lot more feasible to get things done without feeling overwhelmed.
Tackle smaller tasks first.
If you feel overwhelmed by how little you have progressed, take a break and work on a few mindless tasks that require little attention or thought and allow the mind to wander. Wash the dishes, organize your bookshelf, sift through unread emails or do laundry. By accomplishing small wins, you develop momentum and confidence to overcome your mental block.
Taking a step back may also help you gain clarity and perspective on the root cause of the block, allowing you to think about how you can move forward more efficiently in the future.
Learn something new.
Oftentimes when we encounter mental blocks, we ruminate over the same old ideas without thinking outside of the box. Expose yourself to new ways of thinking by learning something new. Read an article outside of your field, cook a meal that you have never attempted before or follow a how-to guide on juggling. Whatever you choose to engage in, line up new experiences to set your brain on course to think in novel ways. Get your mind to expand laterally, enhancing your creativity and problem-solving capabilities.
Sometimes for business growth, it's essential to push past the mental blocks. Join us during our next free webinar training to meet people in your industry and learn how to apply yourself. When you use what you learn only, then will you be able to create a profitable and successful business!