Coming Unstuck

Sometimes, I just don’t have any ideas.  I feel uninspired, unfocussed and generally “meh” about things.  Fortunately, this doesn’t happen frequently, but every now and then I feel like there’s nothing there.  I can talk with others, inspirational people, and still have nothing to contribute or feel that is worth sharing.

Clinical psychologist Dr Terry Singh suggests that to get unstuck we need to understand that getting unstuck is not the same as feeling better about something, or successfully changing, rather that is it the first step towards change. He suggests starting with focussing on the experience of being stuck, this could be something physiological, a tensing or chest tightening, that could lead on to feelings of anxiety. Knowing what you know about yourself, your feelings and experiences and so on is what helps you get unstuck. We need to delve deeply into those experiences; usually we only scratch the surface when we consider our experience of the moment. Think about what you are thinking, one or many thoughts, physical feelings, level of comfort/discomfort, emotions – present or absent and intensity.  Dr Singh says it’s important not to take shortcuts when we consider our experience.  Taking a closer look at the blind spots in our experience is the key to unlocking change. 

We need to look at our physical state and how that impacts our internal state and impacting our thoughts and emotions.  It could be something simple like drinking too much coffee first thing in the morning is not likely to help you if you have high anxiety levels. 

Getting unstuck is more nuanced.  Singh says “Paying attention to your experience is a skill just like riding a bike.  The more we practice paying attention to our experience in our daily lives, the better we get at it.  The better we get at it, the less likely we are to get stuck when faced with a problem”.

When I have moments of creative block I usually remove myself from the scene.  Take time out to do something else and forget about whatever it was I was stuck with and go back to it another time.  Some suggest that you should ignore your most creative time of day and do whatever it is you’re stuck on at your least creative time of day.  This might be because you could be more insightful at non-optimal times of the day.  The focused energy can sometimes crowd out the eureka moments.

For some, according to a study by researchers in Germany, turning lights down low helps with a sense of freedom and reduces inhibition, which in turn can increase creative and help us come up with new solutions.

One that I have done myself, so can testify to it actually working, is to share the idea with someone that you don’t always agree with.  They will be your harshest critic and argue and debate it with you.  Having to defend your ideas helps expose its weaknesses and offers different viewpoints. 

The best suggestion of all, not that I’m advocating we should all do it, is to get slightly tipsy.  Alcohol decreases focus, which would not be good if you had to do something highly analytical, but it’s great for brainstorming.  How many times have we heard that the “best ideas happen in the pub”.

Next time I get stuck for an idea, I crack open a beer!  Cheers.


One thought on “Coming Unstuck

  1. I’m the same as you. Go away and do something completely different and come back to it later. Bottoms up 🍻😉


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