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5 Sources Of Fatigue And How To Fight Against Them

5 Sources Of Fatigue And How To Fight Against Them

Have you ever felt extreme tiredness to the point that you feel unable to function? Are you bordering on exhaustion rather than feeling a little ‘low?’ Feel like your mental and physical capacity is suffering? Well you may unknowingly be suffering from fatigue and it’s about time you do something about it.

Millions out there are struggling to get up and out in the morning and feel the effects lasting throughout the day, most notably at work where we feel like the lack of mental and physical capability is stealing our productivity. So what to do then?

Below are the five common causes of fatigue and ways to tackle them so you can be more productive, maintain razor-sharp focus and have bags full of energy throughout the day.

Like everything in life there is a cause and effect and fatigue is no different. There are both physical and mental symptoms of fatigue, which can frustrate you if you don’t know how and why they are occurring. Whether it be stress levels, nutrient deficiencies or lack of self worth, fatigue is out to stop you in your tracks so it’s time you understand what can be done about it.

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What does mental fatigue feel like?

A lock of focus, the inability to concentrate for long periods, a wandering mind, and lack of creativity is what mental fatigue feels like. Once the brain is clear on what it has to do and the mind isn’t playing tricks on you, you will find that your focus improves, and your motivation is back.

And what about physical fatigue?

Struggling to get out of bed, always feeling like you want to sit down, lacking drive and energy to do the things you love are all signs of physical fatigue. If your brain isn’t functioning then the body will start to shut down too. Your brain’s primary role is to keep you safe and sound and is more concerned with surviving than thriving so your body won’t be allowed the energy to perform everyday tasks. So on to the five main sources of fatigue…

1. Lack of sleep

Lack of sleep is too common nowadays. It can start off with a few late nights and before you know it months have passed and you haven’t been able to remember the last decent night’s sleep you’ve had. During sleep your brain and muscles go in to repair mode. Hormonal and metabolic changes take place and your cells get a chance to regenerate. Sleeping helps improve your mood, energy and vitality in both the short and long term.

Here are my top three supplements to help you get a peaceful night’s sleep:

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1. Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain which regulates your sleep cycle.

2. Valerian root. Got a lot on your mind which is causing you to keep awake at night? Well this supplement will help reduce anxiety and help you relax so you can get great sleep.

3. Magnesium. Studies show most of the population lack magnesium. In order to help your muscles relax and calm your nerves take this mineral daily.

2. Stress

Yes I went there! I said the ‘s’ word. You’ve got stress bombarding you from all angles and your adrenal glands are not happy about it. The walnut-sized glands sit on top of your kidneys and their role is to manage stress levels. Be careful how you treat them as they can only take so much damage. When you are suffering from fatigue you can be sure that your adrenals are crying out for help. Overworked adrenals lessen your ability to conceive, maintain energy and perform sexually as well as maintaining sugar levels and reducing inflammation.

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How to manage stress? Start by not taking life too seriously. Stress is only your perception of what’s going on around you so the minute you realize life isn’t as bad as you make it out to be then that will help you on your way to reducing your stress levels.

3. Spending too long working out

Over the years as a fitness and well-being professional, I have seen people slave out in the gym for hours on end. I get that if you want to have your dream physique you’ve got to work hard in creating it but there is a difference between working hard and working smart. Studies by researchers show that after 45 minutes your testosterone levels drop and your cortisol levels rise which is what you don’t want considering you are looking to drop your stress levels. In reality most of us spend too long in the gym doing things that aren’t relevant to our workout. Focus on getting quality work done within the 45-minute mark. Otherwise you are placing unnecessary stress on your body and will find it harder to recover increasing your chance of fatiguing.

4. Dehydration

Considering you are a minimum of 70% water, don’t you think it would be helpful to keep up your water intake throughout the day? A lot of the time exhaustion is actually dehydration in disguise. We don’t consume near enough water as we need leaving us feeling tired, lethargic and heading for the nearest coffee machine. Your cells, just like your car need the right liquid to work so make regular stops to the gas station to get you feeling full of beans again.

How much water should you be drinking? In his book, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, the leading figure in hydration, Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, recommends one liter of water per 50 pounds of body weight. I would stick to that great advice as I’ve personally seen great results off the back!

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5. Too much caffeine

This point follows on perfectly from point #4. Coffee is the most addictive drug on the planet and its high caffeine content is the cause of fatigue in most people but instead we overload thinking we are dealing with fatigue. Too much of the stuff causes the adrenal glands to overwork and feelings of tiredness and lethargy start to kick in. Its addictive qualities will have you reaching for a cuppa every time you’re feeling a little low but be warned if you’re overloading on caffeine and have a toxic diet. Expect negative effects on quality of life.

There you have it, a clear guide to what is causing fatigue and knowing what you now know you can get on with building the right strategy that fits your life to make sure you can enjoy it without feeling tired, drained and demotivated.

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How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

His motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • He riles up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

Becoming the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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