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Published on October 1, 2020

4 Signs of Emotional Exhaustion (And How to Get Over It)

4 Signs of Emotional Exhaustion (And How to Get Over It)

We all get emotionally exhausted at some point in our lives. It is normal to experience an overdose of one emotion or another and deal with their hardship and struggle, and only through this experience can we truly see the beauty of life. But when the emotional exhaustion turns into a perpetual experience of negative emotions, it isn’t healthy anymore.

Emotions are the driving forces that build our character, and they give flavor to our lives. The more we understand emotions, the better we can deal and nurture them. The ability to deal and nurture our emotions and the emotions of others is called emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the capacity for identifying the signs of emotional exhaustion. It is natural to be emotional, show emotions to oneself, and share and express them to others. It is a crucial part of the individual’s personal and social development.

But can we really recognize our emotions in a way so we don’t get entangled by them—in a way that we get emotionally exhausted?

The Meaning of Emotional Exhaustion

Emotional exhaustion is the state when negative emotions overwhelm the present moment—in any aspect of life—over and over again,. Today, emotional exhaustion is closely linked to emotional labor, which when poorly managed results in being burnt out.

However, emotional exhaustion can also be an outcome of social, familial, friendly, or intimate relationships.

Regardless of the source, when you repeatedly feel the following:

  • Worried
  • Bored
  • Anxious
  • Unworthy
  • Unhappy

This increases the emotions of becoming even more:

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  • Frustrated
  • Envious
  • Fearful
  • Doubtful
  • Angry and
  • Annoyed

And you reach a state of being emotionally exhausted—a state of dullness, confusion, and tiredness.

“Repeatedly” means daily. Every day, deep inside of you, there is the feeling of one or few of the above-mentioned emotions, overwhelming your present moment, playing a part in your daily activities—robbing a significant amount of your physical and mental strength and vitality.

Signs vs. Symptoms of Emotional Exhaustion

Emotional exhaustion is caused by negative feelings and emotions. We can’t get emotionally exhausted by feeling motivated or enthusiastic. The signs of emotional exhaustion don’t come from positive emotions like happiness, gratefulness, or curiosity but from interpreting life events negatively.

Once we start interpreting things from a neutral point of view—without creating unnecessary negative feelings—the emotional exhaustion can be reduced and a better, more realistic perspective on life opens up where positive emotions prevail.

Before interpreting, we need to identify the symptoms and signs of our state of being—how we feel and how we behave.

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms are subjective or objective indicators that you feel within yourself. The first symptoms feel mostly like:

  • Tiredness – a subjective indicator that you feel somehow exhausted (physically or mentally), which at the same time might also be true that you’re not if your statement has the inclination of complaining.
  • Boredom – an objective indicator that gives you the unpleasant feeling of not knowing what to do—being disengaged from positive emotions, feeling dull, and empty.

Further symptoms would be the constant feeling of being unworthy of the things you do or unhappy with the things you do, regardless of your accomplishments.

Feeling constantly tired (physically) and disconnected from what is going on around you is a symptom that you’re emotionally exhausted. These symptoms lead inevitably to a behavioral pattern that evolves into a chronic habit of complaining. This leads to the objective signs of emotional exhaustion, which impacts professional and social life.

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What Are the Signs?

The signs of emotional exhaustion can be detected through speech, tone of voice, body, and facial movements. Normally. they are to be detected by an outside observant like a professional or a loved one—any trusted person with an understanding of how emotions work.

With today’s modern technology like high-speed cameras, you can detect and interpret the signs and nature of a facial micro expression. But these tests are not cost-effective.

However, no matter how supportive the modern technology might be, there are two things we need to do to identify the signs (as well as the symptoms) of emotional exhaustion:

  1. Improve self-awareness for more precise detection of the signs (the same goes for the symptoms as well);
  2. The openness to share our situation, feelings, and emotions with a trusted person—an observer with enough competence on the subject matter who can inform us about any signs of emotional exhaustion.

4 Signs of Emotional Exhaustion

The signs of emotional exhaustion are hidden in your emotional expression, and they show through your mood and the way you react and manage your emotions.

When lacking self-awareness, the most efficient way to identify the signs of emotional exhaustion is to seek professional support or ask your loved ones to have a closer look at your behavior, your reactions—like body posture, facial movements (micro-expression), and verbal or non-verbal expressions.

I know, it is not easy to share such personal feelings and weaknesses with others. But one thing that we must understand is that we are all interconnected, and our personal growth is dependent on communication and interrelation with the people around us. And that applies especially when things go wrong.

If you don’t open to your closest, how can you nurture your positive emotions and express positive qualities and virtues to others?

Self-awareness detects emotional exhaustion. As a meditation teacher, it is my daily business to analyze, study, and share my opinions about emotions. The meditation as the fundamental element of reviving the self-awareness can help to manage this whole subject matter.

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My research in this field has proven that we can detect signs of emotional exhaustion once we objectively experience the following moods:

1. You Feel Tired Very Quickly and Very Often (Physical Exhaustion)

It is nothing but natural to become physically exhausted after performing physical activity. After a rest, the body recovers, recharges strength, and replenishes energy. Usually, in this condition, you have the stamina and the resilience to absorb many of the below-mentioned signs. But once the physical exhaustion becomes chronic, the body cannot replenish its energy that easily. That’s when you will feel fatigued.

2. You Lose Interest in Engaging in Daily Activities

Chronic tiredness results in a mood that expresses demotivation, idleness, annoyance, and frustration. These are signs of emotional exhaustion—showing no motivation, no vitality for engaging in or exploring new things in life.

3. You Feel Less Tolerant in Your (Long-Term) Relationships

The signs of constant boredom and annoyance are linked to a behavioral tendency showing indifference that makes you less tolerant in your relationships. The signs mentioned above breed impatience, which quickly creates anger, envy, and even hatred, where even more frustration arises by the fact of not being able to manage relationships on any level.

4. You Feel Insecure, Incapable, and Unworthy

The need for isolation arises and you reach a mood where you feel insecure. Doubtful and anxious, you begin to question your capabilities and your self-esteem sinks lower and lower. The cocktail of these feelings and moods creates so much confusion, resentment, and sadness up to a point of complete emotional exhaustion—a state of burn-out.

This process of emotional irritation and imbalance happens rather unexpectedly. Without notice, despair crawls deep into the psyche exhausting all vitality and all creativity.

How to Prevent or Get Over This Exhaustion?

Apart from the different techniques to overcome mental exhaustion, there is one organic way to recover from emotional exhaustion: Meditation.

  • Prevent the development of emotions—in other words, learn to identify the emotion before it arises and cut its process of evolvement. For example, the feeling of boredom leads to annoyance, and that leads to rejection, irritation, frustration, and so on.
  • Once a negative thought arises and creates a destructive feeling, it is a sign that negative emotion is about to erupt. The idea here is to disrupt the creation of this process and exchange it with a constructive mental and physical activity.
  • This can be done only in a meditative state of being—in a state of inner observation—watching the thoughts. Breathing exercises can help you reach that state.
  • As emotions are the result of the unconscious repetition and acknowledgment of feelings that are supported by the constant creation of thoughts, it is imperative to understand that the root cause of emotional exhaustion is found in the creation of these thoughts.

The meditative state of being can slow down this process and then give a clear picture of what is going on deep inside of us and find the root cause of the problem and the solution for it.

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You can visit my website for custom-made meditation practices that deliver the solution for emotional balance and enhancement of emotional intelligence.

Final Thoughts

One thing worth remembering is that no human being is spared from the turmoil of emotions. You, me, and everyone else suffer and enjoy the effect of the emotions that we create for ourselves.

The above technique sheds light on how you can identify, understand, and move through the whole spectrum of emotions to get over the emotional exhaustion and achieve emotional balance. This way, you can safely experience being the victim as well as the beneficiary of your various emotions.

Hence, it is inevitable to look into how emotions work and how to approach them. The techniques on how to get over emotional exhaustion carry the idea of initiation into emotional self-education. This is a fundamental part of the custom-made meditation practice I offer.

Use this technique to balance your negative emotions and improve your emotional intelligence. During your meditative state of being, all the signs sent to you by your emotions carry messages for the growth of your emotional intelligence and mental strength.

Know that emotions are there to be analyzed and understood, not only to be enjoyed or avoided. Embrace them, handle them, and don’t get lost in them.

More About Emotional Exhaustion

Featured photo credit: Abbie Bernet via unsplash.com

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Marcin Gil

Marcin is a spiritual being just like anyone challenging to uncover what we already have โ€“ spiritual freedom.

4 Signs of Emotional Exhaustion (And How to Get Over It) 5 Techniques to Quiet Your Mind And Stay Present 12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind How to Get Deep Sleep in 5 Steps Naturally 3 Mindfulness Techniques for Living in the Present Moment

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

The Importance of Living in the Moment

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.

Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

Better Health

By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being[1].

Improve Your Relationships

Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?

Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.

How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.

By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

Greater Self-Control

You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier[2].

Why Do We Worry?

Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

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Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment

Step 1: Overcome Worrying

In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

Calm Your Mind

When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.

The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.

Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.

Racing Mind

Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.

Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past

None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

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In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

A Wandering Mind

From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.

Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities[3].

Outside Influences

Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future[4].

Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

Understand Mindfulness

The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.

When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality[5].

You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.

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You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation? 7 Ways to Start Meditating

Mindful Breathing

While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

Mindful Walking

Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?

Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.

You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.

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Mindful Eating

Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level[6]. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

Live in the present with mindful eating.

    Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss[7].

    So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

    • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
    • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
    • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

    You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

    Mindful Activities

    Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

    Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

    You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

    Final Thoughts

    Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.

    Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

    Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.

    The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

    More About Living in the Present

    Featured photo credit: Smile Su via unsplash.com

    Reference

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