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5 Practical Reasons Why You Should Film Yourself

5 Practical Reasons Why You Should Film Yourself

Do you think that filming yourself is a weird thing that only a vain narcissist desperate for public attention would do?

If that is the case, then I’m here to ask you to reconsider.

Before I get into why you should film yourself and how you will benefit from it, keep the following in mind:

  • Steps 1-3 are for everyone, while steps 4-5 are more specific and challenging. It helps to define a specific purpose so that you are clear regarding why you are filming yourself.  You always get more out of a thing if you are deliberate in your practice and decide in advance what you will focus on.

1. To Boost Learning

I believe that learning how to learn new things – to form a framework for learning – is one of the most valuable things that a person can do since everything else in life stems from the quality of one’s thoughts and one’s ability to adapt to new situations.  Therefore I am always looking to find new ways to boost my learning – and one of the best ways that I’ve found to boost my learning is by doing daily video logs where I speak about a topic I have been thinking about or writing about during that particular day.

When it comes to learning new things, and memorization in particular, it’s all about doing a lot of repetitions of the information that you have acquired. Most people know that. Some people know that it is very beneficial to do repetitions on multiple levels: reading, writing, and speaking. Few people go beyond the first level.

Use video logs to get an extra repetition. There’s a saying, I think it was Einstein who said it, that if you can explain a thing you have learned in a simple enough manner for a novice to understand, then you probably know the subject well. When you practice doing your video logs, it helps to imagine that you are explaining a thing to someone who doesn’t know. By doing this you will improve your ability to explain things and you will get an extra repetition on the level of speaking.

A final thing when it comes to learning is that, as rule of thumb, the more energy and effort you spend in learning something the better you will remember it. By shooting at least one daily video log, you will teach your brain to become more resourceful; you are forcing your brain to exert more energy and that is a great thing in itself in terms of discipline and building character.

2. To Become More Expressive

Face it: most of us living in the Western world need to become more expressive, not only in terms of expressing what’s on our mind or how we feel, but also in terms of body language and vocal tonality. If you don’t know what I mean by expressive body language, take a look at these videos:

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Most of us have to give presentations or speeches in school or at work, and it is very useful to film yourself when you prepare for the speech or the presentation.

By filming yourself speaking about something, you will get good feedback on what you need to improve in order to become more expressive. It will be tough on the ego for many people, as they hate seeing or hearing themselves on film. But it’s a really good thing in the long-term. The sooner you fix a problem the more you stand to benefit from it.

3. Emotional Catharsis

“I’d be a savage beast if I ain’t had this outlet to salvage me”

– Eminem –

How many people do you know that walk around as if they had the world weighing on their shoulders?

Probably a few I’d guess.

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If you do not have some means of expressing yourself regularly you will feel clogged up. You will often dwell on (negative) things for longer than necessary.

However, if you are expressing yourself through some medium or hobby, you tend to reach a flow state, become concentrated and bring back order to your mind. By doing that, you can more quickly go back onto focusing on that which matters to you and be more productive. In short, you clear your system out and make room for new things.

I call this process express it and get it over with.

For me, to express something and get it over with speeds up the learning process because it means that I can more quickly resolve the current questions I have in my head about a thing I’m trying to learn and then move onto a new thing.

4. To Become More Unreactive

I’ve always been extremely bothered by my inability to express myself, whether that be in writing or speaking, public or private, alone or to a crowd. That’s probably why I’m motivated to write this as of right now. I’ve never been introverted or had social issues, but I’ve always wanted to improve in any way possible.

I’ve always been striving to become a bit more unreactive to the things that, in my opinion, should not matter to me, but somehow still do, such as the opinions that other people may have about me in any given moment. I really don’t want my ability to taking action to be stifled because I am trying to please accommodate someone else. I want to place no one above myself.

One of my current goals is to be able to consistently shoot informative videos in a public setting without getting distracted by other people.

There are a bunch of things that one can do in order to become unreactive. For the most part these things are embarrassing, scary, or painful. These things will be tough in the short-term, but they will make you that much stronger in the long-term. Shooting video logs in public is one of those things.

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By shooting daily video logs speaking about specific topics in public environments, I have become much more unreactive. I started out being rather shaky and not quite able to express what I was trying to say because I was so self-conscious and bothered by what other people who passed by thought about it. The neurological explanation for this phenomenon is that my amygdala overrode my neocortex and I couldn’t think much because I got scared.

When animals get scared they tend to resort to instinctive and automatic behavior and humans are no different. This is when you can truly tell how much you say filler words such as: like, so, I mean, it’s like, whatever, stuff, uhhm, yeah so, you know what I mean. You can also very clearly see how your body language changes and gets defensive, trying to cover up, scratching your head, and so on.

And you’re getting it all on film.

It’s pretty brutal. It is painful to watch, but it is a good pain, a pain that comes from growing.

5. Practice Your Imagination and Concentration

There is no audience to give you feedback

When you first film yourself for purposes of practice, it will probably be hard for you to speak to the camera because you are getting no audience feedback. There is no one with whom to make eye contact. There is no one to indicate whether what you are saying, and how you are saying it, is interesting or not.

You are virtually carrying on a monologue by speaking your train of thoughts about a topic, and for most people that is more challenging than you think it is because you must imagine that the camera lens is a real person or you will come off as inauthentic. Everyone can carry on monologues in their heads, but try doing it on camera. It requires imagination.

Concentrate, damnit

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When you film yourself in public, you will probably feel very stifled in your communication. You will speak with a lot of fluctuation in tonality due to your state of uncertainty. You will have a lot of trouble concentrating on the things you are supposed to say, regardless of how much you have prepared. This is the amygdala at work again.

But the only way to overcome it is by practice.

Summary

These are the 5 practical reasons why you should film yourself:

1. To Boost Learning:  Force yourself to spend more energy every day. Get that extra repetition by speaking about something you learned during the day.
 
2. To Become more Expressive: Film yourself with the specific intent of watching your body language or vocal tonality and seeing how you can become more expressive.
 
3. Emotional Catharsis: People need to vent their minds and emotions more often in order to leave mental space to focus on that which truly matters.
 
4. To Become More Unreactive: Film yourself speaking about things outside in public places if you are brave enough.
 
5. To Practice Your Imagination: Picture the intended audience as you speak into the camera.

When you start doing this you will be confronted by your own ignorance and incompetence. I sure know I am every day, but it serves as useful motivation to improve. It is like Muhammad Ali kept telling himself when he was running:

Suffer now, and be a champ later.

What are your thoughts on this?  I’d be very interested to know.

Do you ever record yourself?

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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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