One morning last week my brain got stuck. Seriously stuck. I was working on a grant application and suddenly I was just staring at the computer and no words were coming. Every thought stream quickly dried up. The last words I had written didn’t make any sense.

I’m guessing that sometimes your brain gets stuck, as well.

Maybe you are writing a grant application, a thank you letter, a screenplay, a book of poetry, an apology, or a blues song; maybe you are designing a cabinet or a shopping center; maybe you are building a relationship or a birdhouse; and your brain just stops working. What do you do?

At that moment when I felt impossibly stuck, mild panic took over. Several inner voices clamored to be heard.

The gum-smacking bully taunted me- Nyah, nyah! You have a deadline. You said you would finish this today. People are counting on you. Not as good at this as you thought, are you? Loser!

The pale and wimpy princess whimpered—This is hopeless. It’s just too hard. You won’t be able to finish on time. No use going on. Just give up. Who wants to do this anyway? How about eating that pint of Chunky Monkey instead?

The unyielding drill sergeant shouted -- Why is this taking you so long?! Buckle down! Get it done! Any fool with half a brain would have been finished by now! Try harder! Work faster! Just do it!

Fortunately, the kindly wise and beautiful Lady of the Lake chimed in and reassured me--Oh, this happens. This is part of the creative process. It has happened before. In fact, this is a good thing. Take a breath, look out the window and remember what you know.

Ah, yes, I remembered, I do know things that help with this. There are some really enjoyable ways that help me let go of trying so I can step out of my own way to make room for a bigger genius and a deeper brilliance to flow through.

Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Lie Down.
Several years ago, I read results from a study that demonstrated that we are smarter when we lie down. I love studies that confirm what I feel instinctively to be true! When you lie down and let your mind drift, new ideas and bigger thinking can catch up with you.
2. Get Moving.
When you move you bring oxygen to the brain, blood to the muscles and a sense of freshness and vitality to your whole being. It is especially helpful to move in free, spontaneous, non-ordinary ways. Get your body moving and your brain will follow. Change your physical perspective and your mental perspective will change. Shake, wiggle, dance, jump, walk, skip, stretch and breathe, turn yourself upside down, roll around on the floor.
3. Go Outside.
We all need fresh air and light, and most of us don’t get nearly enough. Breathing fresh air and soaking up natural light will activate your body’s electrical system, regulate your hormones, calm your nerves and stimulate your creativity. Meander, jog, skip, play, listen to the trees, sit quietly, enjoy the sensations of nature, watch the birds and the clouds and breathe in the beauty of this amazing Earth.
4. Soften Your Eyes.
When the eyes are tense, the brain is tense. When you relax, soften and free-up your eyes, there is a positive effect on your physical vision and on your overall perspective. Soften the muscles around the eyes, soften the eyes themselves, let your gaze soften and allow your peripheral vision to expand.
5. Be Noisy.
As modern adults we tend to be very inhibited in the sounds we make. Your brain benefits when you play with weird, unusual ways of making sounds.
Sing, yell, sigh, yawn, hum, make strange noises, blow out through your lips like a horse, talk to your computer, shout out poems.
6. Play with Art.
Expressing yourself freely, without thinking of a final product, will activate the right side of the brain and will stimulate more communication between the two sides of the brain. Play with big, loose colorful expression, finger paint, sculpt clay, draw with crayons, free-write in your journal or on large sheets of paper. Be messy. Have fun!
7. Mix it up!
Do lots of the suggestions above, all at once!

After playing with several of these- walking in the woods, shaking and wiggling, singing, making weird noises, balancing on rocks in the stream and looking at the world upside down- I came back to my computer and the last bit of the grant wrote itself. As a side benefit, the tension was gone from my neck and happiness had returned to my heart.

So the next time your brain gets stuck, remember: it’s just part of the creative process. That yucky stuck feeling is a message from your Bigger Self that it is cooped up and needs more room. What are your favorite ways to free your brain from your ruts of habit?

May you remember what you know and may your bigger genius and deeper brilliance flow freely and happily!

Author's Bio: 

Start each week replenished and let your life flourish! You can’t save the world if you’re running on empty!

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Soul River Guide, Lea Houston, M.A., helps heart-centered entrepreneurs, artists and healers replenish their souls so they can bring their greatest gifts to the world.