Four Tools for Overcoming Mental Block:

How to Help Your Creativity Flow Again

by Leslie McLeod

One night when our son was a preschooler, he came into our room crying. “I had a bad dream,” he sobbed, rubbing still-sleepy eyes.

My instinct was to go full mama hen, comforting and fussing over him. My resourceful husband simply gave him a task.

“Do me a favor, buddy. Go to the living room and make sure the dog isn’t sleeping on the couch.”

Confused but obedient, our little one padded out, found the dog curled up in her bed, and then came back to report.

“Great! Thanks for checking on that for me. You can go back to bed now.” My husband gave our son a quick hug, then led him back to his own room, where he quickly went back to sleep, having completely forgotten about the dream.

For people who create, our minds can go on detours that are as intense and emotionally upsetting as a bad dream. Creative block leaves us feeling frustrated. Stuck. Afraid of failure. The more we spin our mental wheels, the deeper we sink into a paralyzing quagmire.

We need powerful and inventive tools to cause our ideas to flow again.

Rather than pound against the obstacle, simply walk away. Take a run. Pull weeds. Bake bread from scratch. Paint the fence. A change of focus can kick-start your creative engine.

You’ve prayed, but God hasn’t removed the barrier? Thank him anyway. Maybe this is an invitation to come away. Play praise music. Watch that funny video of baby goats, and laugh with Jesus. Step outside––let his astonishing creativity stir you. A trail of ants. A bird surfing the breeze. A sunset masterpiece to ignite your imagination.

A change of focus can kick-start your creative engine.

When our minds and souls grow parched, blessing another person reconnects us with the heart of our Creator. Call a friend. Write ten encouraging comments on your social media feed. Pull in your neighbor’s trash can. Mail a card to someone lonely—it will revive your spirit too.

Blessing another person reconnects us with the heart of our Creator.

Perfectionism is a fierce opponent of creativity, strangling it in a noose of performance pressure. Give yourself permission to keep going imperfectly, without regard for the result. Tackling inertia with momentum—any momentum—will ultimately bust through the barrier. As you release the mental block and wait in anticipation, God will restore your inspiration. Who knows? God may even use the detour to take you in a whole new direction.

Leslie McLeod loves writing, painting, connecting with friends, cowboy boots, pansies, and bubblegum pink roses. @mcleod_les

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