3 Ways I Move Past My Mental Blocks
“I’m going to walk a hundred miles. I’m going to whistle all the while. If that’s what I have to do to make me smile. I’m going to walk a hundred miles.” -Mindy Gledhill, Whole Wide World
Nine years ago, I was working for my father, getting my bachelor’s degree, and trying to build a photography career. I was 30 and looking to find happiness because I thought happiness was something you sought.
I would listen to music from Pandora and at the same time, I was creating slideshow videos for my portrait clients. I kept hearing songs from Mindy Gledhill on both platforms. I found her music moving, inspiring, and often fun. One day I heard her song “Whole Wide World,” and something just clicked. I dubbed it as my theme song for the new year, but I have kept it my theme song ever since.
Moving past mental blocks can be a personal journey, but sometimes learning about how someone else pushes through their blocks can be helpful. Here are 3 ways I move past my mental blocks in different aspects of my life.
- Food and Health
- Money and Business
The Click that Helped Me Understand
Light bulb! Happiness is not something you seek. It is the act of what you do to create it. Walking a hundred miles isn’t going to make most people smile, but the work it takes, the accomplishment you’ll feel, and whistling the whole way will probably put a smile on your face. (If that doesn’t work, just take a moment to realize this scenario closely parallels the life of one of the seven dwarves from Snow White.)
I could give you a hundred reasons why there are days where I find it difficult to feel happy, but there are also a hundred reasons why I don’t need to feel morose. Sometimes, conjuring those reasons seems tripe, and that’s when I turn to music. For some people, it is about counting the things that you have in your life, but for me, it’s conjuring the feeling of joy. For example, whenever I need to be in the kitchen and I can’t muster enough mental strength to get there, I turn on Neil Diamond. I dance around the kitchen as I work, stopping to stomp my feet and wave my wooden spoon above my head. Crazy, right? However, this is a strong memory I have my mother as I was growing up. Neil Diamond was often played on cleaning days and I’d catch her in some room of the house stomping her foot in time to the music with a duster or kitchen utensil above her head. It makes me smile every time.
Music has so much power because it can tie into memories, move you with lyrics, or make you feel motivated. Mindy Gledhill’s song empowers me as a woman and entrepreneur to get out there and take a chance, while Neil Diamond takes me to happy memories of my childhood.
Next time you need to push a mental block to happiness out of your way, turn on some upbeat music and dance like no one is watching. I also recommend listening to videos by Xandria Ooi for some fabulous tips on being happy, always.
2. Food and Health
I made a huge change to my eating habits about two years ago when I turned to a plant-based diet. While that switch helped me with a lot of health problems, it hasn’t helped me with energy level or weight loss.
So, how do I keep going? Well, I look at it this way: I am doing things that are helping me to maintain a healthy body, and my bloodwork reflects it. Then, I do the following to help me get through days when my energy level is really low, and I feel like I’ll never get to a healthy weight:
- I set a task list for the day, and if I can, I take my time doing it.
- I allow myself a food indulgence if a craving is particularly strong.
- I do some yoga because the act of stretching and breathing helps me feel connected to my body. Getting connected with my body helps me get a mental boost.
- I get outside and breathe in the fresh air.
- I allow myself time to daydream about things that make me happy.
- I listen to my body’s circadian rhythm. For me, that’s going to bed between 8 and 9:00 p.m. and naturally waking up between 4 and 6:00 a.m.
Number six is so important for me. When I don’t get enough sleep or I don’t sleep during the hours my body wants me to, I feel sluggish and get a lot of brain fog the next day. Sleep is essential to our health. It is how our body recharges and heals.
I have the luxury of working from home and starting my day when I would like to do so (usually between 6 and 8:00 a.m. because that’s when my brain is the sharpest). This means I don’t have to set an alarm. Alarms really throw off my mornings. Even if that alarm is set during a time I would normally wake, if the alarm actually wakes me, I have the hardest time getting up and moving. I was jerked awake instead of naturally waking. On days where I have to set an alarm, I try to set it for after 6:00 a.m. It reduces the chance the alarm will wake me, but it is there for the security of waking me if necessary.
In short, do your best to provide a healthy environment for your body through nutrition, exercise, and sleep. On the days this seems difficult, have a routine you can turn to, give yourself some grace, and move past it. Don’t let one day derail your healthy living habits. Remember, it’s just one day. You didn’t fail, you took a moment to listen to some of your needs, and now, you can continue to listen by returning to your healthier habits.
3. Money and Business
This is a tough one because I have a lot of money blocks as portrait photographer, Bradford Rowley calls them. Working for myself can often feel overwhelming and like running on a treadmill — I’m moving but I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere.
When I feel like this, I use a lot of the same methods I use to feel happy or continue my health journey: I make a task list, turn on some music, take in some fresh air, do a little stretching either physically or mentally, and I get back into the game. I’m also working on those money blocks. I try to recognize when I am self-sabotaging, and I try to find ways to correct the behavior.
“…maybe I’m just a little girl. A little girl with great big plans.” — Mindy Gledhill, Whole Wide World
No one knows your journey better than you do. Mental blocks are a state of being and not a permanent part of your life unless you allow them to be. Find routines and triggers to help you get past them.
Check out these mindfulness exercises by the author, Rica Keenum. She helps writers become better by teaching them mindful writing habits, but these are also great if you need some tips for getting in touch with yourself and your surroundings.
Lisa Anderson is the editor in chief of The Chews Letter. She has over a decade of experience in the healthcare field as a C.N.A. and massage therapist, and over three years of experience in the magazine industry. Her mission is to bring people together through food and stories.