Mental Blockades and What to Do About Them
Have you ever had that feeling of not being able to finish the project you’re working on? Or not being able to even start? If you do, don’t worry, as you’re not the only one. This is something that happens to virtually everyone, and there are many reasons for it.
Here’s a scenario that’s probably familiar to you: You sit at your desk and you’re looking to study/work, when all of a sudden you realize that you need to wipe the table, drink some water, and check Instagram to see what’s new. After you do all that, you feel like going to the toilet, checking your phone again, and doing pretty much anything to avoid working.
If this happens to you, you’re facing a mental blockade. There are many reasons why this can occur. To help you understand them, let’s go over the most common ones, followed by some solutions.
1. You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
Let’s say you have this huge paper to write. You know that you need to start but simply can’t, so you keep staring at the screen hoping that it will start writing itself. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen, so you’re left not knowing where to start.
The most common reason behind this is feeling overwhelmed. You know that you have this huge task, so your brain automatically tells you that it’s too much. As a result, you keep procrastinating, and likely postpone your work until panic kicks in.
The Solution: Break Down Your Work
The reason why you’re feeling overwhelmed is because your mind thinks in advance. It sees this huge project that is seemingly impossible to finish. If you break your project down into smaller tasks, it will seem much more workable.
If you have to study, take it one page at a time. There’s no point in counting the total number of pages, since you have to do it whether you count them or not. To prevent yourself from getting paralyzed by a huge project, simply think of it as a number of smaller ones and you’ll see how much easier it gets.
2. Your Environment is Messy
If you’re not the type of person who keeps things organized, you might all of a sudden decide to do just that. The reason behind this is that our minds respond to our surrounding, so having a messy desk can prevent you from working.
As much as messiness can help improve creativity, it also causes a lack of mental discipline. This results in procrastination, frustration, and eventually giving up on the task, or at least making it much harder to start and finish.
The Solution: Find the Best Organizing Method
Keeping your work environment organized is a proven way of increasing productivity. If your desk is organized, there will be fewer distractions to your brain, so you’ll be able to focus on your task better.
It would also be a good idea to change your environment completely. If you feel like you’re not able to study or work at home, go to a library, or a coffee shop. The change of scenery will refresh your mind, so you’ll be able to work more productively.
3. You’re Afraid of Failure
Completing a project can be exceptionally hard if you’re afraid of failing. Due to our mind’s negativity bias, we’re far more likely to expect a negative outcome than a positive one. This leads to frustration and fear; it’s a total productivity killer.
If this is the case with you, you’re likely forming mental pictures of yourself failing, which results in a total loss of motivation. If you keep thinking like this, you’re basically setting yourself up for failure.
The Solution: Replace the ‘What If’s’ with ‘So What’s’
It takes time to rewire the brain to stop expecting negative outcomes, but it’s certainly doable. What you need to do is challenge your negative thoughts and transform them into positive ones. Instead of being afraid of failure, understand that you can’t predict the future and just do your best to prevent it from happening.
Think about the worst thing that can happen. There’s a high chance that it’s not as bad as you made it out to be. Even if it is, you’ll be able to see or come up with a solution, so there’s no need to worry.
And even if there isn’t a solution, no amount of worrying can fix that, so again, worrying serves no purpose. Learn how to think positively, and you’ll be far more capable of overcoming your mental blockade.
4. You Get Too Caught Up In Your Task
This often happens with students and people who are static and spend a lot of their time behind the desk. The monotony of doing the same thing over and over again discourages you from completing your tasks.
There’s too much pent-up energy, which results in agitation and a loss of interest in the work ahead of you. When this happens, it seems impossible to motivate yourself to start working, and you feel even worse because you’re not doing anything.
The Solution: Break a Sweat
The best way to overcome this type of mental blockade is to get moving. There is proof that exercising can significantly increase your productivity. You can go for a run, do some aerobic exercise, or anything that you think you’ll enjoy.
This will release the negative energy that’s inside you and help you clear your mind of negative thoughts. As a result, it will be much easier to tackle the work in front of you, not to mention you’ll feel much better.
As you can see, there are many causes of mental blockades. Depending on which one applies to you, you can choose between many solutions that can help you overcome it. The first step is to identify the cause.
Once you’ve done that, think about what you can do to get over the blockade. This will take some trial and error. However, as you keep practicing, you’ll be able to strengthen your mind and overcome mental blockades in the long run.