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The Dark Side of Technological Advance – Mental Fatigue and How It Eats Us Slowly

The Dark Side of Technological Advance – Mental Fatigue and How It Eats Us Slowly

Do you feel like no matter how much sleep or rest you get, you’re always tired? Do you catch a cold easily, and it takes you a while to recover, before falling ill again? Does your body and your back ache, and do you get regular headaches or migraines? Does all this occur, even though you have a good diet, exercise regularly and seem to sleep through the night?

We immediately look for physical signs of fatigue and then try to rectify the problem with material solutions, like taking a multi vitamin, sleeping and exercising more or less and changing our diet. The last thing we consider is that the issue lies in our mindset.

What Does A “Tired Mind” Mean?

Mental fatigue [1] is a state of being defined by extreme mental activity, sensory overload and hyper vigilance [2], which causes exhaustion. It stems from excessive mind and brain activity, which then manifests in the body.

The demand on your attention through various sensory, emotional and psychological stimuli overloads your capacity to function and diminishes your cognitive performance. Mental fatigue is considered to be one of the biggest causes of accidents in modern society.

Signs To Look At When Your Mind Is Overwhelmed

There are very clear signs that tell us when we are burnt out. It’s as though we are running on empty and our energy is so depleted that we are unable to perform sometimes the most basic day-to-day tasks. Our physical appearance may start to deteriorate.

We may lose or gain weight, develop dark shadows and deep lines on our faces, our skin becomes dull or prone to break out and our muscles feel achy and stiff. Motivation and a positive outlook escapes us and we simply go through the motions of merely existing as opposed to living. Other symptoms include:

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  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to focus
  • Forgetfulness
  • Erratic emotions
  • Loss of sex drive

Everything Around Tires Your Mind

Mental fatigue is caused by excessive physical and mental activity placed on our bodies and brain. Modern living is chaotic, competitive and demanding.

Whilst the industrial revolution, mass food production and consumerism has made everyday living easier in some respects; we don’t have to hunt for our own food, we have a variety of gadgets, machines and appliances to make living and traveling easier and civilized society is organized through systems, infrastructure and institutions to support us.

Despite all of this, we have put incredible pressure on the planet and the environment, we have 24 hour news cycles and social media constantly harnessing our attention, the global population has exploded, unemployment is rife, health care and education is inadequate and many nations are marred by poverty, war, inequality and injustice.

Life is no longer simple. We are expected to work hard, play hard and be switched on all the time. Even relaxation has become an industry. When the mind and the body are placed under too much pressure, the result is a malfunction in the systems [3] that keep us going.

Our heart health can suffer, disturbing blood flow through the body and to the brain, we contract infections and our immunity isn’t able to cope, our metabolism and digestion is impaired, we sleep less or have poor quality sleep and we don’t extract the vitamins and nutrients from the food we consume, particularly if we aren’t consuming the right types of food or not enough of them.

Coffee And Alcohol Are Not The Way Out

The demands we impose on our mental and physical well being due to the pressures of everyday life can become so overwhelming, that it is difficult to see a way out.

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Mental fatigue, its causes and symptoms can easily become a lifestyle cycle. The more pressure we take on, the worse decisions we make and this in turn, increases the pressure, causing us to take even more shortcuts.

We try to stay competitive and relevant in the workforce, we have relationships and raise families, which require us to earn more in order to sustain our quality of life. We attempt to stay abreast of what everybody else is doing on social media, a tool that often becomes the most convenient and efficient way to socialize, when we are so busy working and taking care of our families.

We compel ourselves to keep our finger on the pulse of what is going on in the world so we can stay informed, empowered and educated. As a result, we are forced to eat and exercise on the run, we are always switched on and hyper alert, and we use band-aid solutions to help us feel better. We drink too much coffee or alcohol to sustain our lifestyle. The more we try to find a solution to our lack of energy, the more we do and the less energy we have.

Live For The Moment – The True Exit

Stop. These days we have no idea how to do nothing sometimes. Just be. Live in the moment. Feel as though we have enough, no more or less than what we need. Experience gratitude.

It seems simple enough, but most people’s response is that they simply don’t have enough time. In fact, we have all the time in the world. The key to conquering the effects and cycles of mental fatigue is to address our outlook.

If we stay in the moment and live each minute, hour, day with reflection on what we are doing, not thinking too much about our long term goals or past experiences, but just doing what is in front of us, suddenly our intentions turn inwards and we address the elements that are most important for us to have a functional and healthy life.

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Several Ways To Regain Your Mind Vitality

Observe how you breathe

Pay attention to your breath on a regular basis throughout the day. It changes automatically. When we are frustrated we huff and puff, when we are angry we gulp for breath, when we are sad or low, our breathing is shallow.

Become acquainted with how you breathe. First begin by observing it. Everyone has moments when they are still, do it then. When you’re sitting on the toilet, before you go to sleep at night, when you’re commuting or driving. When you are required to do nothing, pay attention to and get to know your breath.

Then, practice techniques [4] to make your breathing work for you. Sometimes simply regulating your breath, by breathing deeply a few times and then steadily, is enough to re-oxygenate your brain and help you to recenter.

Enjoy eating good food

Meal times are sign posts that break up your day and give you an opportunity to recharge. No matter how busy you are, you are inevitably going to get hungry, so make that moment count.

Even five minutes to enjoy a piece of fruit or a long drink of water, can be enough to clear the cobwebs from your head. Better still, do it outside. Make mealtimes a routine. You don’t have to observe it to the minute or be obsessive about it, but make eating an important part of the day.

Eat sitting down, at a table or bench, in order to give your body the opportunity to not only taste your food, but to digest it. Do this at around the same time every day, several times a day. Observe at least breakfast, lunch and dinner and be flexible to allow for snacks and meals in between. Make healthy choices, but let yourself have indulgences too. A piece of cake and a glass of wine are sometimes the best medicine.

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Use your body

As a modern society we obsess over exercise, particularly of a competitive nature. That can be healthy sometimes. Team sports are excellent ways to get fit and connect with others. But your body is your own and you need to move it and use it how you see fit.

You may prefer walking to running, yoga and swimming to a team sport. Your physical activity of choice could be dancing at a club or in your kitchen or maintaining your garden. Learn how to stretch and strengthen your muscles, move your joints, get your heart rate up, learn how to balance and how to warm up and cool down.

Sedentary behavior [5] is said to be as dangerous for our health as smoking, so get moving.

 Make quality sleep a non negotiable aspect of every day

Sleep and sleep well. One of the things we forgo first when we are busy and under stress is sleep. Anyone who has children or a high pressure occupation knows this only too well and sleep deprivation is commonly used as an implement of torture, it is that harmful.

Sometimes the amount and quality of sleep we get is out of our control. Having babies and small children means losing sleep and sometimes our jobs demand us to be available and alert when we should be sleeping.

It is important to make quality sleep a non negotiable aspect of every day. Steal sleep whenever you can. 6 – 8 hours is usually ideal. When you lose sleep, catch up. While seemingly impossible, it’s doable and a power nap can make all the difference in the world. The benefits of sleep [6] are undeniable.

Reference

[1]TheNationalCenterForBiotechnologyInformation: Neural effects of mental fatigue caused by continuous attention load: a magnetoencephalography study.
[2]GoodTherapy: Hypervigilance
[3]MedicineNet: Fatique
[4]Time: 6 Breathing Exercises to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less
[5]AustralianGovernmentTheDepartmentOfHealth: Sedentary Behaviour
[6]The Official Journal Of The American Academy Of Neurology: Cognitive benefits of sleep and their loss due to sleep deprivation

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Diane Koopman

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

Narcissistic Personality: What Is It and How to Deal with a Narcissist?

Narcissistic Personality: What Is It and How to Deal with a Narcissist?

He asks you for your opinion, but only follows his own advice regardless of what you say.She loves to talk about herself, everything about her is just better than you.  When you try to share anything happy about yourself, she seriously doubts it.

If you know someone who acts like these examples, there’s a chance they might be a narcissist.

What is a narcissistic personality?

Narcissism is a spectrum personality disorder which most of us have.

In popular culture, narcissism is interpreted as a person who’s in love with themselves, more accurately, their idealized selves. Narcissists believe that they are too unique to be understood and that they are so good that they demand for admiration from others.

Psychologist Stephen Johnson writes that,[1]

the narcissist is someone who has buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) describes narcissistic personality as a personality disorder. It is a spectrum disorder, which means it exists on a continuum ranging from some narcissistic traits to the full-blown personality disorder.[2]

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not very common, but the truth is, we all have some of the narcissistic traits.

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Traits of a narcissist:

  • They have a deep need for admiration and validation. They think they’re special and too unique to be understood.
  • They feel they are superior to other. They achieve more and know a lot more than you.
  • They do not show their vulnerabilities. They fear what others think of them and they want to remain superior in all situations.
  • They are unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others. They want to be the centre of attention and believe that showing emotions is a sign of weakness.
  • They are skilled manipulators and are emotionally abusive. They know how to make use of their charm to take advantage of others to get what they want.

How are narcissists different from others?

Narcissism expert and the author of Narcissism in a Nutshell, Zari Ballard, tried to answer some common questions asked by non-narcissists about what a narcissist thinks and feels from a narcissist’s perspective.[3]

Do narcissists know they are narcissists and are they happy?

We could really care less about how others feel. We enjoy our so called cold existence. True narcissists don’t want to change. We feel in total control of our lives using this method.

Do narcissists know or understand right from wrong?

Narcissists know the difference between right and wrong because they understand cause and effect. There is no “guilty conscience” giving them a clue and they are displaying the symptom of being “indifferent to social norms” while most likely presenting as ‘cold-hearted.’

Narcissists have a very different thinking mechanism. They see things from a different perspective. Unlike non-narcissists and empaths, they don’t have much sympathy and are reluctant to show emotions to others.

Why do people become narcissists?

1. Narcissism is vulnerability taken to an extreme.

The root of a narcissistic personality is a strong resistance to feeling vulnerable with anyone.[4]

Narcissists refuse to put themselves in a position where they feel vulnerable. They fear that others will take advantage of their weaknesses, so they learn to camouflage their weaknesses by acting strong and powerful. The think showing emotions to others is a sign of weakness, so they learn to hide their emotions and act cold-hearted most of the times.

Narcissists live in a state of anxiety because they are highly aware of their emotions and how others think of them.

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Vulnerability aversion, is the root of a narcissistic personality.

2. A narcissistic personality could be a result of a wounded past.

Narcissists are desperate to seek validation constantly because they either didn’t feel worthwhile and valued in the past, or were being paid too much attention as the most precious and unique one in the world.

Faulty or inadequate parenting, for example a lack of limit setting, is believed to be a major cause, and both permissive and authoritarian styles of parenting have been found to promote narcissistic symptoms.[5]

Both parents who fail to see the worth in a child, and parents who spoil and give excessive praise to the child promote narcissism as the child grows. While the former ones make the child feel inferior of others and want to get more attention, the latter ones encourage an idealized-self in the child.

How to deal with a narcissist?

1. If someone close to you is a narcissist, embrace the differences.

There’re different personality types and not everyone will think and act the same as you do. Instead of trying to change others, learn to accept the differences and strike a balance when you really have to communicate with them.

2. Don’t try to change them, focus on your own needs.

Try to understand that narcissists are resistant to change, it’s more important for you to see who they really are, instead of who you want them to be. Focus on how you feel, and what you want yourself to be.

Embrace the fact that there’re different types of personality and the only thing you can control is your attitude and your own actions.

3. Recognize what they do only comes from their insecurity.

Narcissists are quite vulnerable deep inside, they question others because that’s how they can make themselves feel better.

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When you learn that what a narcissist does to you is nothing personal, but something that comes from their insecurity, you know that sometimes they just need a certain amount of reassurance.

This is especially important if the narcissist is someone you have to closely work with, or if they’re your family member. The right amount of reassurance can calm them down and get the tasks on hand completed.

4. Ask them what would others think instead of what’d others feel.[6]

Narcissists don’t feel guilty, but they care about how others think of them deep in their heart.

Clinical psychologist Al Bernstein explains:

There are just things, like other people’s feelings, that narcissists rarely consider. If you have their ear, don’t tell them how people might react; instead, ask probing questions. Narcissists are much more likely to act on ideas that they think they thought up themselves.

If you have to work with a narcissist closely, focus on the facts and ideas, not the emotions.

5. Let go of the need of getting a narcissist’s approval.

You’re not who a narcissist says you are. Don’t let their blame game undermine your self-esteem, and don’t argue with them just to defend what you believe is right.

There is no point arguing with a narcissist just to prove them wrong because they will not give in proving themselves right. It’s more likely that you’ll get more upset when they disagree with you in an unpleasant way.

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Know your own worth and detach from a narcissist’s opinion on you.

6. If a narcissist is hurting you, stay away from them.

Remember, a healthy relationship is two-sided. It’s about mutual respect and it’s based on give and take. But any kind of relationship with a narcissist is likely to be the contrary, it’s about making the narcissist happy and constantly supporting them. A relationship like this will only weigh you down and is unhealthy for your growth.

7. Set a boundary and always keep it.

If you’re setting a boundary, you have to be willing to keep it. When a narcissist sees that you’re trying to take back control of your life, they will try to test your limits, it’s just their instinct to do it.

Be prepared that your boundary will be challenged. Make your boundary clear, have all the actions needed to be taken in your mind.

For example, if you have decided to stop communicating with them, they will likely to show up in front of you just to talk to you. Be brave enough to keep your boundary, don’t back down and get close to them again; or else they will not take your boundary seriously any more.

8. Learn when to walk away.

When a narcissist starts to make you feel uncomfortable and doubt about yourself, it’s time to pick yourself up and give yourself enough respect to just walk away from them.

If you’re in love with a narcissist, you should seriously think about ending the relationship and move on for a better life. If the narcissist is your family member, you don’t have to be cruel to them, but it’s better to keep distance from them.

Reference

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