There are times in life, when all of us hit a plateau. Well, at least most of us. Due to a variety of reasons, we can experience mental blocks in our personal and professional lives. The idea is not to mop about it. That’s exactly the time when we have to recheck our lives and ensure that we adopt ways to overcome our mental blocks, says astro strategist Hirav Shah

What is a mental block?

You are in the thick of activity and lo and behold, your mind suddenly stops. The latest and most recent example is that of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. During his speech, he suddenly blacked out and found it hard to continue for a few moments.
This is a public example of having a mental block. But many of us experience it in our day to day lives, leaving us wondering about what struck us. In fact, a mental block is every professional’s nightmare or anyone’s nightmare for that matter. You could start off with great enthusiasm and gusto and get on a project. Things are fine till everything keeps falling into place. Then at one crucial moment, your mind hits a psychological wall.

Suddenly, you black out fearing failure after striving to put everything in place. On the other hand, there could be so much that needs to be done, that the very thought might feel daunting to you.

But the most important thing to remember is that it is very important to not get caught in the rut. Instead of powering these conflicting and complicated feelings, it is high time you looked for ways to get out of it and successfully out of it.

However, you could be part of a small and lucky minority that did not have a mental block. However, most others hit a plateau feeling stuck in their career, dealing with unfulfilled relationships or the everyday discontentment that comes with doing the same thing day and day out.

But the feeling of being trapped in a mental block is bound to be extremely frustrating and can adversely impact your personal and professional lives. You could be over analyzing or fill your plate up with things that lead to numerous responsibilities. So, once you realised you have a mental block, it is very important to understand the problem and take measures to make progress.

In most super hero films churned out by Hollywood, star characters such as Spider Man, Iron Man, Hulk, all suffer from mental blocks where they go into deep periods of retrospection. So is the case with Doctor Strange, the character played by Benedict Cumberbatch. In fact, there are times when the young and most popular wizard Harry Potter too experiences blocks and seeks the advice of his teachers at Hogwarts. And not to forget James Bond and Batman, both of whom are hit by mental blocks and take time off from active life to re energise and reboot themselves.

What causes mental blocks?

Well, the reasons could be varied, but all of them have the same impact:

a) A wide range of prescription and over-the-counter medications
b) Vitamin B12 deficiency
c) Lack of sleep
d) Decision fatigue: The mental exhaustion that is caused by having too many decisions to make.
e) Clutter: It has been said time and time again by medical professionals that working in a cluttered and chaotic environment can lead to production of cortisols in the body and this in turn can lead to anxiety.
f) Procrastination: Putting off simple to complex tasks can also lead to stress and anxiety that can make it difficult for people to take up or resume a project.
g) Then there is the dreaded imposter syndrome, where people fear of being discovered as being inefficient for a job. They have nagging fear that they are not cut out for a job. Former US president’s wife Michelle Obama confessed to feeling like an impostor, as did Neil Armstrong, the first man to land on the moon.

How to overcome mental blocks

Take control of your situation: Like we mentioned above, mental fatigue is hitting a plateau when mind, body and emotions come to a standstill. So, to regain the momentum, it is necessary that you harmonize your mind and body to reach your peak state. And activity need not be big or huge. All you need to do is take a small step to break the mental block. Declutter, bring in clarity and use them to unblock your thinking.

Focus on the present: Understand that it’s all about mind over matter. If you are experiencing a mental block, then there is something that is bothering you from the past. Or it could be concern regarding the future and you tend to be so overwhelmed that it leads to a mental block. To give yourself some traction, sit down and think about your present moment. Focus on your breathing till you calm down. It is from such a peaceful state that you can think more clearly and proactively to solve problems, both professional and personal.

Lookout for signs of a breakthrough: Often in life, you reach a point when you begin to feel enough is enough. In fact, the more frustrated you feel, the more you end up being closer to a breakthrough. If you feel vague and are full of discontentment, something’s gotta give. You reach a point where you have had enough. It is at this point, remember, that it is rather normal to feel this way. The time to grow and evolve has come. These are the signals of breakthrough.

It’s time to reprogram your mind: The first and the most important step here is to simply try and reprogram your mind. At this point, you will have the focus to develop a sense of mindfulness. At this stage, jot down exactly what you are feeling and thinking. If self-limiting beliefs pop up in your mind, immediately replace them with empowering beliefs. Visualise where you want to head towards in life and surround yourself with people and environment conducive to that goal.

Avoid clutter, calm your mind: Like mentioned above, a cluttered mind can be detrimental to your mental well-being and can lead to mental exhaustion. Environment is more than just physical surroundings. The sounds, people and activities you are surrounded by on a daily basis can also impact your performance. If you have less sleep or lack enough sleep, it could mean fatigue. Similarly, having too much to do on your plate and setting oneself to high, impossible standards can also lead to mental blocks. So, to beat mental exhaustion, start with taking simple steps and tasks. Be organized and declutter your surroundings. Make a schedule to work upon. Learn to delegate and adjust workplace priorities for maximum efficiency. In short, the point is, if and when you take control of your environment, you will be able to get rid of mental blocks.