Hello again! Today I want to share some tips that I have found helpful for how to overcome mental blocks.
What are mental blocks you say? Well, they are the stories we tell ourselves that stop us from doing things that benefit us. Many of our mental blocks came to us as children, such as a teacher telling us that that we are “doing it wrong” when we color outside the lines.
The people who start us on the path to having mental blocks mostly do not do it maliciously…they think they are helping us to be better people. But the problem with that is that they drag their mental blocks in when trying to help you. #unhelpful
Hello and welcome to Fearlessly Holistic.
My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body, eliminating stress, and dealing with mental health issues as they come up.
It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes. Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food, getting some sunshine, and reducing stress is the best way to increase longevity. But you do not want just a long life.
You want a quality long life, and you want to look and feel your best while you live it.
My blog posts are my opinion and the results of things that I have tried that either worked for me or didn’t. My opinions are for informational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. As well, there may be affiliate links in this post. Read more here.
When I first heard the concept of mental blocks, I totally “got it”. I understood it immediately. However I never sat down to figure out which blocks were the ones holding me back from what I want.
That is because so many websites will either list a few blocks, or there is some kind of test that gives mixed answers. So I sat down and figured out what some of the main blocks are, that fit multiple situations.
I remember vividly how one of my mental blocks ‘manifested’
When I was a child, I was super skinny. We used to drive across the country during summer holidays to visit relatives, and not a visit went by without someone pointing out how skinny I was. On and on and on, everywhere we went. They looked at me like I was on death’s door.
I felt inferior. I felt “less than”.
The message that I got was ‘I am not good enough as I am’
Being skinny was not my fault. Now that I have been studying health and nutrition for a while, I can see that I was underfed the kind of food that was right for my body.
But I carried the belief that I was not good enough all the way into adulthood. It affected so many parts of my life, I cannot even count them all.
And I know that I am not alone.
I have read so many message boards of people with similar stories; maybe with the same block, maybe with different ones, but the same result.
So if you can relate to this even a little bit, or you wonder why you cannot succeed in a specific area of you life, you may want to assess your blocks and break them.
If you want to find self-help books for any of the blocks below, I recommend checking out your local used bookstores first…the self-help section is a goldmine!
I am going to list the blocks that, in my research, are most prevalent.
I will try to relate them to how they block success with money, health, and relationships because those are the topics that dominate most people’s thinking these days.
1. Not good enough/self doubt
So this one shows up in all kinds of areas – when trying to move up at your company, when trying to lose weight, or when trying to make friends or fit in in some way.
How to break: Get a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. In the left column, write out all the stories you can think of where someone told you that were not enough.
In the right column, write out why those stories are not true.
If you believe that some of the stories are true, then you need extra help. I suggest EFT/Tapping videos. EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. Yes, it does look weird, but I have had a lot of success using tapping to remove emotional pain from old wounds.
I like Brad Yates for tapping. If you go to Brad’s website, you can see what kinds of content that Brad offers.
If you click the tab “get started” it will take you to his free courses and links to his videos.
2. Perfectionism/fear of failure
This is a type of procrastination. A person with perfectionism will keep tinkering with things trying to make them ‘perfect’ and all the while not completing the project or task.
The idea behind it is that as long as you are working on the project, you have not failed in any way.
Once you hand in the project, it is now available for judgment.
And being judged means that it, and you, can be called out for failure.
How to break: While working on projects or tasks, set a reminder alarm in your phone or pc that says “done is better than perfect”. Say out loud “done is better than perfect”. Do this every 15 or 30 minutes as long as you are working on that tasks. Do this as many times as it takes for you to release the idea that ‘it must be perfect”.
Failure is not the end of the world.
In fact, we need to fail to get valuable feedback so that we can keep improving.
When babies are learning how to walk, they do not give up. When they fall, they get up and keep trying and it mostly only takes a day or two and they are trying to walk everywhere. We were fearless as toddlers, and we can get back to that with some practice.
I like Frank Herbert’s Dune litany:
“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”
3. Indecision/fear of success
This is when people cripple themselves in the decision making process out of fear of making the wrong decision.
I had a friend who liked to go out for lunch once a month, but would never make the call on where she wanted to go. It was always “why don’t you pick…you always pick great places”.
I could tell that she was afraid to make a decision, so I forced her hand.
I said “if you don’t pick, we don’t go”. Because honestly, we had already gone to places that I picked, so those would be totally safe bets. Once she started making the decision, and saw that the world did not end because of her choice, it got easier for her.
How to break: Start making small decisions solely to gather feedback about your choice. Don’t think of it as making a wrong decision; instead think about it as making a decision and learning from it.
Then keep applying that thought process as you make bigger decisions. Just like with other fears, once you face them and step out in faith, it gets a lot easier next time.
There are plenty of books and free information on the internet to help you learn to be better at deciding. Try this blog post from Mind Tools.
4. Fixed Mindset/All or Nothing Thinking
A fixed mindset set limits on what we are able to achieve. It can be linked to trying and failing in the past, and deciding to never try again.
In many cases, it is linked to a parent/s with a particular attitude about a thing that they are unable to change, so they pass that on to children.
I have seen this in an elderly family member, who always talks about growing up during the depression. For them, they see growing up in poverty as their permanent way of life. They cannot escape it because…”it’s always been this way”…”I don’t know how to change/make it different”…”You can do things like that, but not me”…etc.
Past failure is not an indicator of future failure.
In fact, you can take what your learn from failing and use it to do better next time.
How to break: When you get a thought like this, you have to latch on immediately and question it.
- Is it true?
- Can you really ‘not’ do something?
- Just because your whole family is overweight, does that mean that you have to be as well?
- You grew up in poverty, so does that mean that you must be poor forever?
- No one in your family is good at sports, so does that make it true for you as well?
- I can’t get the promotion because so-and-so is more qualified
Questioning your thoughts is the first step to getting on the path to changing limiting beliefs (blocks). The first step is awareness. I recommend keeping a running list of these thoughts as they crop up, and take note if one thought shows up in multiple situations. Once you break that block in one area, you can break it in all areas more easily.
5. Emotional decision making/Lack of logic
With this block, you consider your options from a place of emotions. But emotions are not the truth.
If you ever had a friend who wronged you and you were angry at them, you might think “I hate you”.
Later, when the friend apologizes, you are happy to be friends again.
How to break: I used to be say Yes to things all the time, and then regretted it later. I finally had to sit down and figure out my boundaries in these situations.
I am an introvert, so saying yes to events where I would be amongst a crowd was mentally draining for me. I decided to attend these types of events only occasionally. For example, I say yes to attending weddings, but saying no to attending every local music concert.
Once you get the hang of what you can and cannot tolerate, it is much easier to say “No, I am going to take a break from…(whatever event you are invited to). Maybe next time.” Check out this post from Tiny Buddha on how to stop saying yes.
6. Need for certainty/Trapped in comfort zone
Sometimes we get trapped “inside the box”, and forget to use our creativity to come up with a new, creative idea.
Our brains create specific patterns of behavior to save time. That is why when you follow the same route to work and home again, you can end up ‘zoning out’ while you drive. You may snap out of it halfway home and wonder how you managed to not hurt anyone because you were not paying attention.
That is your brain saying “Hey, we do this all the time. No worries, I got this…take a break”.
How to break: This was a mental block that I fixed early on, just by changing the route I drove to work. The act of shifting out of a pattern of behavior can be as simple as changing one small part of the pattern.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Shop at a different grocery store.
- Drive somewhere new and go for a hike.
There is a book for this, and it is called “Change One Thing!” by Sue Hadfield.
7. Waffling/On the fence
This block is also related to being indecisive, but in this case you have made two decisions about the same thing, and cannot decide which one is the best one. In some cases, people miss great opportunities because they just do not decide on either in time.
I believe this is also called being wishy-washy, or being weak-kneed (if you have ever heard those expressions).
For example, I had this block as a money mindset block.
I was trying to set an new income goal and was trapped between my ‘big income goal’ and what I thought I could realistically achieve quickest.
It also applies to weight loss: I’m going to start eating cleaner today/It will probably be easier to eat clean if I wait until summer
How to break: Pick the option that will benefit you the most in the long run.
My business coach told me to focus on getting the big goal, because I would reach smaller goal along the way. #duh lol.
Understanding mental blocks has been a real game-changer for me. Once I sat down and figure out which blocks I needed to fix asap, I was able to break two of them right away.
I usually write inhelpful thoughts in my journal and try to suss out which block it is. Then I go online and find help.
Like I say, for me EFT works the best. YMMV. If you need more tools for your mental health toolbox, I will recommend:
Affirmations – These are short, positive statements that we use to ‘affirm’ what we want. For example “every day I am improving my health” or “I am a money magnet.
Gratitude – Gratitude allows us to check in on our own lives and be happy for all the great stuff we have, like supportive family/friends, clean water and a car that runs.
All or Nothing Thinking – This is block #4, so if you need more help read this blog post.
Countering Negative Thoughts – There is a lot of that going around; if you think you have this issue, read my post for assitance.
Holism targets overall wellness, and when we are well, we only get better with age.
Eat the best food that you can afford, practice self-care, mind your stressors and enjoy life!
Please share this post with anyone who can benefit from it. Sharing is caring! And follow me on Pinterest!
Until next time, here’s to our health!
– Irma xo