How To Overcome Mental Blocks

Among the many struggles that professionals and creatives of different fields share are mental blocks. It can turn your biggest opportunities into your worst nightmares, and it seems they take a liking to visiting you just right before the most important events and career-defining moments of your life.

What makes them even worse is how they, most of the time, come out of nowhere; one moment, your head is shooting out one idea after another, and the next, it is totally blank and black.

Such misfortune can strike anyone at anytime. Thankfully, we are not totally powerless in the face of mental blocks. Rather than beating yourself up over it, why not try some of these steps of overcoming mental blocks instead.

Try changing your environment.

You might doubt the relevance of how your surroundings can affect your work performance, but maybe studies that support just this could clear those doubts. The environment being important does not automatically mean that cleanliness and orderliness work the best for everyone. Studies show that people react differently and seem to have a different preference when it comes to the cleanliness of workspace, i.e. their own “cluster style”.

If finding your clutter style seems to be insufficient, maybe a fresh scenery can inspire you and spark some new ideas. You can try going to a coffee shop, a quiet restaurant, the library, or even go out of town, somewhere quieter, especially if you are staying in the city and/or are used to working in an office, studio, or other enclosed spaces.


Right whatever comes to mind, both related and unrelated to work, even though they might seem like random, unconnected thoughts. Give it time and soon enough, creativity will start to flow and so will the ideas. This is actually an effective way to brainstorm as it is proven to be successful throughout time, a technique used not only by writers.

You can also try doing word associations. You start with one, general word/topic written in the centre of the paper. Within an allotted time limit (can range from as short as 1 or 2 minutes to lengthier ones like 15-30 minutes), write as many concepts/phrases that come to mind thinking of your centre word/topic, and the same way, write other words and phrases related to these concepts and phrases.

By the end of the time limit, you must have interconnected, web-like words on your paper.

How To Overcome Mental Blocks

Do something else first.

Staring at the nothingness of your paper or computer screen and forcing yourself to write something may not do you good, so when you have tried everything but still no light bulb goes on in your mind, it might be better to work on the little tasks first. This includes even the things that are unrelated to your work such as chores, cleaning your workspace, do your budget, organize and check your unread emails/emails, etc.

This is also a time when having a hobby you really come in handy. These tiny breaks can build up your productive and creative momentum needed for you to progress in your work. Other than that, it can also provide you with some time and space to clear your head of other worries and things so you can put all your focus, energy, time, and attention on your work.

Discuss with business partners/colleagues/friends.

One thing you should always remember is that you can always learn a thing or two from everyone. When it comes to brainstorming and exploring new ideas, it is a big help to talk to your colleagues, friends, and family, sometimes even those who do not know a lot about what you do. Answer them when they have questions about the discussion.

This way, you are more likely to see what you have been missing the whole time, and sometimes, it is more easily seen by an outsider and her perspective. At times, even a joke or simple, common remark can lead to your “eureka” moment.

It is our goal to explain your ideas in the simplest way possible when it comes to talking to people who do not know a lot about your line of work. However, such a practice can also help you refresh your mind on the details of your work and what needs to be done.

Other than that, being able to explain it to someone is a sign you really know what you need to know about your work. This is why not being able to explain makes a lot of people stuck in mental block realize that maybe they lack a proper understanding of what their topic or work is all about.

If this applies to you, do not think of that you should just give up on it; it simply means you will need to read and research more, especially on those points you find hard to explain yourself.

Rid yourself of unnecessary stress.

Sometimes, the stress and pressure we put upon ourselves are what distracts our creative and productive flow. Of course, things in life do not come easy, and some sources of stress need to be dealt with.

But this just goes to show how important it is on your part to rid yourself of the unnecessary stressors and pressure that you burden yourself with. Comparing yourself to others, especially the more successful ones, is one of these common stressors. This does not only put you and demotivate you; it can also drive other people away.

Build a nurturing relationship rather than a dangerously competitive one with friends and colleagues. There will always be someone better than you or have something you wish you could accomplish, so if you always worry about this, you are only drowning yourself in your own pressure and unnecessary worries.

This goes to show that aiming for internal control should also be given priority rather than just aiming for a promotion or some sort of external power like that. Even before you get to the top of your career ladder, it is important to first “be the master of your own self”.


What can sitting quietly and breathing properly do to overcome mental block? A lot, actually. If you don’t know already, you should know that among the many things that cause mental blocks are other thoughts, both conscious and unconscious, that may be distracting you.

What is a better way to finally confront these thoughts and finally get rid of them if not mediation? Other than the fact that it would not cost you anything except time, anyone can meditate. Just find a quiet spot where you cannot be bothered by anyone or if you want a break from the hustling and bustling in the city, drive out of town to somewhere quieter.

You cannot comprehend fully the importance of meditation until you try it out and see it for yourself. If the Buddha could attain the Four Truths by doing it, it can probably help you figure your way out of that mental block.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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