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What a Mental Block Is, and How to Overcome It

If you’ve ever experienced a mental block, you know just how challenging it is to find your way out of the maze and back to the beginning. A mental block can impede our ability to move forward, challenging our self-confidence and making positive self-talk feel like an impossible mountain to climb.

What is a mental block?

A mental block is a suppression of a thought process or blockage that prevents the brain from creative and basic thoughts. Have you ever felt a complete loss of motivation or a barrier to your brain that is impacting your productivity? If you’ve ever felt like you can’t articulate your words, express your creative self or struggle to connect with others, it is possible that you are experiencing a mental block.


It is possible to overcome the natural byproducts of mental block, like self-doubt or imposter syndrome, if you have the resources and support to make it happen. Imposter syndrome can create a “false” mental block when you're working on achieving a new goal– like finding a new job. Imposter syndrome can keep you "thinking small" as a mental block.

How to identify a mental block

You can identify a mental block by slowing down and taking emotional inventory of where you are. If you're noticing clutter around your personal space at home or at work and trouble sleeping, this could indicate that you're experiencing a mental block.

What causes mental blocks?

Our brain’s ability to short circuit is very real, and generally occurs when we're feeling a sense of overwhelm. If our cups are full, there's no room to take anything else on.

The causes of a mental block at work

Struggling to formulate a thought or access information is not uncommon, especially with work and life stress coming full speed at us around the clock. Our professional lives require us to be on when we’re clocked in, and for many others when they’re clocked out. If your to-do list is skyrocketing, if you’re drowning in paperwork– you may need an intervention to get back on track. Project deadlines, training, and compliance are stressful. Without the proper inner mediation, the stress we take on at work can paralyze us.

Mental block as a side effect of physical exhaustion

In the same way that professional stress can create mental blocks, physical exhaustion can, too. In fact, sometimes they are linked, hand in hand. Physical exhaustion keeps us from accessing the part of our brain that has a Rolodex of information that we use in our daily lives. From our memory to our ability to perform basic tasks. If you’re an athlete or have a labor-intensive job, it is not uncommon to experience a mental block at the end of your day. Knowing how to get ahead of it is part of building a sustainable schedule for your life.

Mental block as a result of your outlook and perspective

Life is hard. It is too often, so difficult, in ways that we could never anticipate. Standing in a place of judgment, feet rooted into the ground can make that battle so much harder than it needs to be.


We can acknowledge just how challenging this life is without discounting its glow; the endless beauty of a sherbert-colored sunset, and the way the leaves dance when caressed by the wind. Your perspective is the beginning and end of everything. It determines the way you measure success, how you cope and how you move forward with your life.

How to get over a mental block

Changing methods, and habits, and being open with the people you care about are all small ways to begin unblocking your mind. Combining those things with a little nervous system regulation, like meditation, are the perfect cocktail to get your mind feeling stimulated.

Recognize your state of mental block

Our reflection is a complicated view. There’s a lifetime of context in the eyes we see staring back at us. Your face tells a story, and even if you can’t see the change in your tired eyes, you may notice other signs of mental block. Owning your moment of vulnerability is a crucial part of acceptance and recovery.

Separate the larger project ahead into smaller tasks

Breaking goals down into smaller, digestible bits is great for the brain. We create so much room for error and failure when we set goals that we don’t even recognize as lofty. Even as minimal as a goal is, if it isn’t specific, measurable, and time-bound, it will probably be difficult to achieve.

Organize your space

The state of the physical space you surround yourself with is essential. It is an accurate reflection of your brain and carries a great deal of impact on your daily life. A clean space offers your brain a place to release, and whether it’s word vomit or rest, it has a clean place to go.

Take a pause

Taking a pause is the quickest way to treat acute mental blocks. Step away from the things that bring you grief- from work to social media. With a little guidance from an expert in the subject, you’ll be able to breathe, rest and recharge. Sometimes, a clean slate is the best slate to work with. Take time off of work, gift yourself a vacation or spend the whole time with friends and family. Whichever activities you choose, make sure they’re all a part of your love language.

Consider an alternative perspective

Ask for feedback from friends, co-workers, and mentors to see how you’ve been engaging with your relationships. Even when we don’t necessarily agree with their feedback, any perspective outside of ours is a gift. We can take what we need and leave the rest.

Get a good night’s rest

Sleep is invaluable. There’s nothing that can replace it. Sleep is where all of our healing occurs. It’s where our cells regenerate, repair, and grace us with a brand new day. A good night’s rest is a core part of your mental health and wellness, and sacrificing any of the above is non-negotiable.

Book a Whole Person Coaching session with Design Clarity CC

It’s tough to take the plunge, but with a whole-person coaching session at Design Clarity CC, you might just find yourself in a position to flourish. If you’re ready to get started, reach out to me on my website.