Give Your Unconscious Some Time to Work It Out

October 8, 2017

Categories: Unconscious

I remember one day, I was struggling with a writing project. I was working on a section of a book, and I was stuck. I didn’t really have a clear direction for where I was going, and I didn’t know what I wanted to say. So, as you might expect, I was making very little progress.

As the day went on, I became more and more frustrated and anxious. After a few hours of work, I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. I wasn’t even sure if the section was any better than before I started. I began to think about the looming deadline for the book that seemed to get closer and closer with every passing minute. By the time the workday ended, I was in a bad mood.

Maybe you have had a similar experience. If you are a writer like me, I imagine there have been times when you have experienced writer’s block. Nothing seems to transfer from your head to your paper. Or maybe you’re in a different field, and have struggled to make progress on a project. Or perhaps you have felt stuck about a relationship problem, not knowing how to move forward.

What Happens When I’m Stuck

When I’m feeling stuck about something, here is what usually happens: I struggle to make progress, and I feel stuck. Then I start feeling angry and frustrated. I might feel scared, worrying that I won’t be able to fix or address the problem moving forward. These feelings distract me from the task at hand, making it more likely that I remain stuck. Since I feel more stuck, I get even more angry, frustrated, and scared. I get caught in a negative cycle that gets worse and worse until I finally feel exasperated and quit.

Take a Break

When I get in this stuck place, one of the best things I can do is put the project aside for a while and move on to something else. It helps me to sleep on it. I’m a firm believer that our minds go to work, even if we aren’t consciously aware of what is happening. Often I will wake up in the morning and have a new thought or fresh perspective on my project.

When I feel stuck, my mind is working in a particular way. I am seeing things from one perspective or vantage point. When I give myself a break, and allow my unconscious some time to work it out, I often come back and can tackle the problem from a different angle.

Discussion: What have you found to be the most helpful strategy when you are stuck on a project? Try taking a break, sleeping on the problem, and see if your unconscious mind can work on the problem for a while.


Related Thoughts


  1. […] are interesting because they can access the unconscious. Psychologists believe there are two main parts of yourself. First, there is the conscious self, […]

  2. Sleep On It – Joshua N. Hook September 8, 2020 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    […] this happens, we need to take a break and do something completely different. We need to give our unconscious mind some time to work. Sometimes our unconscious mind can come up with a solution to our problem that […]

Leave A Comment

Subscribe To My Newsletter

Join my mailing list to receive the latest blog posts.

Receive my e-book “The Mental Health Toolkit” for free when you subscribe.