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The Four Stages of Creativity- The Incubation Effect: How to Break Through a Mental Block

Mental block

The Four Stages of Creativity- The Incubation Effect: How to Break Through a Mental Block

When emotions do not flow, a mental block occurs, and vice versa. Here is how to break through a mental block.


  • Various life occurences can cause a mental block
  • We need to approach a mental block to unblock it properly
  • A mental block is an incubation effect in the stages of creativity

The four essential difficulties that cause mental and emotional blockage and the four essential tools to get out of it

Before the first meeting with a person who begins his psychological therapy, I always feel with great responsibility that my work aims to contribute to change something in his life, in the way of thinking and feeling that is causing him suffering.

Mental block

And it is in that thought, questions arise, such as: How long has this person been affected? What internal and external factors influenced the beginning of this situation? What factors influence now? What qualities are your main strengths? What are the main vulnerabilities that make the problem persist? What are your most important support figures? And the places and contexts in which you feel most comfortable? Is this person on a mental block or an emotional block?

How Is Mental Block and Emotional Block Related?

A term used frequently is that of mental block: I was blocked, blank, did not know what to say. I would have liked to tell him what I thought at the time, but I froze. In the most critical moments, those mental blocks come to me. Tomorrow I have an exam. I hope I don’t have a mental block. But what is the relationship between this kind of stoppage of the mind, this inability to give an adequate response to a situation, and the emotional blockage?

The mental block is undoubtedly related to emotions. Behind this lack of fluidity in the speech of thoughts, there is an apparent difficulty in recognizing, expressing, and regulating emotions. The mental block is the expression of the emotional block, and emotional release techniques help the symptoms of mental blocks, such as anxiety, disappear.

Emotions and thoughts once again interact. They do so in both directions; sometimes, emotions are the triggers and other thoughts; we know that by managing both, we can overcome the mental and emotional blocks. Today we are going to talk about how to achieve it. And the first thing to do is to understand that these blocks are initially a defence mechanism.

How to Break Through a Mental Block

The four essential difficulties that cause mental and emotional blockage and the four essential tools to get out of it.

1. Difficulty (level 1): Emotional closure. Solution: Emotional Openness

  • I don’t know what I feel, and I’m not particularly interested in knowing.

Stopping to think about what I feel makes me even worse and will not solve the situation. I prefer not to think and not give importance to what I feel because if I did, my life would be turned upside down.

Faced with this difficulty, it is essential to become aware that a part of our happiness depends on our ability to let ourselves feel; we must release both pleasant and unpleasant emotions. We will have to learn to accept, face, and learn from what happened from the unpleasant.

Of the pleasant ones, we will have to stop, attend, savour, and give them the meaning they deserve in our lives. We should not be afraid to be open to what we feel: letting ourselves feel is a first step that does not necessarily imply a drastic change in our lives.

2. Difficulty (level 2): Little Emotional Language. Solution: Vocabulary of Emotions

  • I do not know what exact name to put to what I feel, even if I try. It’s like. I don’t know, and I don’t know how to express it

When talking about emotions is striking, the relief we feel is that we abandon the limited vocabulary of “good or bad.” When I am emotionally blocked, immobile in that blockage, if instead of saying: “I feel bad,” I can say: I feel “disappointed,” or “betrayed,” or “alone,” or “anxious” something begins to change? Naming the emotion relieves us because it suggests the proper process of change and adaptation.

3. Difficulty (level 3): Denial or emotional suppression. Solution: Emotional Acceptance

  • I am too young to feel this way.
  • I’m old enough to feel that.
  • Feeling this doesn’t help me.
  • I should not feel anger towards a person I love.
  • I feel ashamed for feeling vulnerable.

All these affirmations could ideally emerge from the thinking of people who live within an emotional blockage, produced by the process of denial of their feelings.

I propose an exercise to break this process of denial: Think about everything that a person is supposed to “not” feel, or at least “should not feel in some situations”: envy, anger, sadness, fragility, indecision, and next, become aware that people do not choose what we feel, we feel it, and those feelings always have an explanation.

So it is not true that “I should not” feel certain things, but quite the opposite: It is normal to feel the way I feel because although it sometimes seems otherwise, feelings always have an explanation.

Detecting what I feel and understanding that it is normal to feel it arriving at that explanation is necessary to get out of the block that denial produces and break these mental barriers.

“The problem is not to stumble but to become fond of the stone.” Similarly, the problem is not detecting that I feel sadness, anger, jealousy, but denying it and becoming fond of the dissatisfaction it produces in me, not resolving what I continue to deny.

4. Difficulty (Level 4): Errors In Emotional Analysis and Their Subsequent Response. Solution: Good Emotional Analysis and Consistent Response.

  • I feel continually anxious, and I know that my job is the main problem, but I cannot stop working or change companies; what can I do?

I feel pretty lonely since my marriage broke up. My friends and family, each one has his life, and I find myself lost for the first time in many years without knowing how to solve it.

Using another example, complicated but quite frequent, let’s analyze this situation: “I am disillusioned with my whole life; I don’t see any meaning in anything.”

All emotions have a message, but that message is not always valid, or at least, that message is not always totally accurate. There is a part of it that can be a “false alarm.” What part of the true message and what part of the false alarm is hidden in each of the above emotional statements?

Let’s look at the last example.

True message:

If you feel disappointed in your whole life, this emotion asks you to “take a look” because it is not much of what you expected your life to be. This involves accepting the loss of what you will no longer achieve and starting with some changes to achieve what you can still achieve.

True message:

It seems that you need some changes in your life, and with those changes, start dedicating your day-to-day to what connects your life goals with your values.

The appropriate response to analysis:

Since it is a true message, until we begin these changes, that feeling of disappointment will not fade, and we will continue to feel in that state of emotional blockage.

False alarm:

Although we sometimes feel as real, that nothing in our life is worth it, that everything disappoints us, it is difficult for this to be the case. There are always aspects of oneself, others, and life that we can appreciate and be proud of. Since it is probably a false alarm, making a drastic break with all current life would lead to feelings of sadness in the medium term for having banished valuable people and contexts from our side.

Even if we feel that nothing has value in our life at any time, little by little, we will have to continue this analysis, differentiating what we want to change, what we cannot change, and what we want to maintain.

A mental and emotional blockage is nothing more than a great wake-up call from our body that carries a great message:

Stop at once! Put off your usual priorities to solve this emotional conundrum. The reward: improve your personal, work, and partner functioning, and achieve a higher quality in your social relationships and your well-being. After reading the above, I hope that you can understand your mental and emotional blockage as an opportunity, a necessary turning point to turn towards your well-being