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Last Updated on October 24, 2018

The 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

The 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

I remember the first time I got my hands on a self-improvement book. I was baffled. At that moment I realized my fate was not set in stone. I could become my own drill master and coach. The books I read would set out the training course for me to overcome. All I had to do was listen to that voice that aspired to climb higher and higher.

Every time I committed to a new challenge, I knew it was going to be outside of my comfort zone. But after enough iterations, I also knew it will not just be part of my repertoire, it will be part of me.

Not all self-improvement books are made equal. Some help start you out on your journey, others give you a boost when you’ve achieved experience in certain areas.

Here are the best ones that I recommend to read no matter how old you are:

1. Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? And Other Provocations

by Seth Godin

    This book is a masterpiece, and unlike most self-improvement books, this one targets an infinite array of areas in which you can, and ultimately must, improve.

    With its ruthless honesty and genuine inspiration, Godin makes you ponder the difficult questions you wouldn’t ever dare to ask yourself. The result is a completely new perspective of the world- a fresher, more vibrant perspective, packed with new and bold possibilities.

    If you need a friend who understands you, a boss that forces you to venture deep in your non-comfort zone, a wise guru that tells you what needs to be left behind and a sage that proclaims the coming of a new age, then look no further; you will find these shrewd voices all tied together in this magnificent book. Make sure to get this one.

    Print | eBook

    2. Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

    by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

      Perhaps it is the fact that randomness played such a significant role in my years as a poker player that I find this book utterly important.

      We often attribute skill where there is only luck; we confuse correlation with causation and we underestimate the incredible effect small changes can have.

      This book gave me a perspective that I unfortunately rarely encounter in others: you can do everything right and still lose, or do everything wrong and still win. It is thus not about the outcome; it is about your actions that have lead you there.

      This important message is central to many of my decisions I make in my life. This book by Taleb helps you develop such a perspective so you will be able to live in a world one cannot fully understand, where the results are not always clear markers of performance and where chance seems to play games with our fates. Stop being fooled by randomness!

      Print | eBook | Audiobook

      3. The 48 Laws of Power

      by Robert Greene

        I read this book in a time where I thought power was something I should attain. Power for power’s sake. And while I disagree with my former self on this point, the fact remains that power is very real, it forms the invisible scepter of all hierarchical relations around us.

        I still recommend this book. I believe it is important to know how people use power for their own benefit and what to do to protect yourself from certain abuses of power.

        Besides the fact that all stories in this book gravitate around power. It contains many life lessons, amazing historical anecdotes. If read in a certain light, the ability to use power for good.

        From Caesar to Goethe, Sun-Tzu to Machiavelli, this eye opening book spans a wide range of human development. If you, like me, would rather be interested in something less egotistical, perhaps Greene’s latest book Mastery will suffice (I haven’t read that one myself).

        Another great book in the same style, but this time around; covering a wider scope, and perhaps, something that will make the world make a better place.

        Print | eBook | Audiobook

        4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

        by Stephen. R. Covey

          The title of this book doesn’t capture it all. Covey shares with us seven habits one should adapt to become truly effective in whatever you would like to achieve.

          Of course, it is not as easy as it sounds. He stresses the fact that we need to go through a paradigm shift – a fundamental change in how we perceive the world and ourselves.

          This book can be read as a guide, with practices and everything, to go through the stages in order to make such a shift happen. Part shock-therapy, part ageless spiritual wisdom, Covey’s book is packed with wisdom that actually makes a difference.

          And as I mentioned, don’t let the title of the book fool you; it is about much more than just becoming more effective. It is about becoming a whole integer person who not only seeks the best in oneself, but also in the people around her.

          A must read for anyone who feels there is always something left to learn.

          Print | eBook | Audiobook

          5. The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys

          by James Fadiman

            While finding a book on psychedelics in this list of books on self-improvement might come as a surprise, I believe any metaphysical distinction between tools such as books, meditation or molecules hold no ground. They should all be solely judged on their merits. And the merits of certain chemical keys, used in a constructive way, are perhaps bigger than any book in this list.

            The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide will teach you how to prepare yourself and your surroundings, what and how much to take, and what do do when something goes wrong. So you can safely enhance your thinking, creativity, introspection and emotional balance.

            This book contains everything you need to know about using psychedelics as a tool for self-improvement while drawing on extensive scientific literature and personal wisdom. A must have for the beginning and experienced psychonaut alike.

            Print | eBook

            6.  Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

            by Brian Tracy

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              We all know how that destructive downward spiral feels.

              We have to do some big tasks of which the thought alone triggers resistance. We aren’t sure how and where to begin and feeling overwhelmed before we even start. We get easily distracted to get rid of that feeling, only to suddenly realize that hours went by- precious hours- and then find ourselves in the same position as before, still not knowing where and how to begin, but now, feeling guilty on top of it which expresses itself in more craving for distraction.

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              To break this spell of procrastination before it paralyzes us, Tracy advises us to Eat That Frog: to set our priorities straight, deconstruct larger tasks into smaller ones, learn when to tackle the big frog first or to start out with something else.

              Tracy is truly a motivational writer. While I wished he had gone a bit deeper into the psychological reasons why people procrastinate, it is still a must have for anyone who wants to break the spell and get shit done.

              Print | eBook | Audiobook

              7. Think and Grow Rich: The Original 1937 Unedited Edition

              by Napoleon Hill

                A from 1937, this book by Hill is a masterpiece. Don’t bother with the edited versions since they all omit important and controversial information: some historical, and some pertaining to the goal of the book, which is to think and grow rich.

                The word rich might imply that this book is all about material gain, and while it certainly covers that area, it is about much more than that.

                This is perhaps the first explicit mention of positive thinking on how to care not just about the cash in your pocket, but also the thoughts in your head.

                This book has been able to withstand the destruction of time. It covers all the basics from planning, decision making and persistence, to the more advanced techniques as auto-suggestion, transmutation and what we can learn from fear.

                This is not a grow rich book, but a timeless guide to find out what actually matters. As it says clearly in the beginning ‘Riches can’t always be measured in money!’

                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                8. The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind

                by Alan Wallace

                  In a world that is dominated by ever stronger technologies designed to grab your attention, a way to empower yourself is to bring that attention back to where you want it to shine. This book offers just that.

                  In The Attention Revolution, Wallace describes the path to attaining Shamatha, a buddhist meditation state of mind that is free from any flickering of distraction. It is a hard and long path, probably not possible for us to reach in this lifetime. However, even getting to stage two or three will make everything in life easier.

                  A wonderful introduction to meditation, The Attention Revolution will inspire you to take on the challenge and see what training your mind can actually achieve.

                  Once you have achieved such level of focus, you can put it to use to open your heart with the practice of The Four Immeasurables or deepen the practice with this wonderful commentary by Dudjom Lingpa, both by Alan B. Wallace.

                  Before you read this book, you may want to take a look at this guide so you get a better idea on how to prioritize your life:

                  The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                  9. The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health

                  by John Durant

                    In the last 10,000 years or so, it seems we have been propelled into an ever faster paced world forged by our own hands and minds. Only recently have we been able to reconstruct our journey and reflect back upon our humble origins.

                    This amazing book is such a reflection. It goes back to the paleolithic searching for answers to health and longevity.

                    Between science and his personal experiments, Durant weaves a mind blowing story that will convey the importance of an evolutionary perspective on how to live well.

                    It covers everything from nutrition to exercise, from sleep to fasting, from ancient practices to modern biohacking and even has an outline for a vision of the future where depression and obesity have become obsolete.

                    If you only have room for a couple of books on this list, make sure this one is included.

                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                    10. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation

                    by Daniel J. Siegel

                      As my Burmese meditation teacher often proclaimed, ‘Mindfulness alone is not enough!’ Siegel seems to have taken this to heart and made an unique synthesis between meditation, psychoanalysis and neuroscience which he calls ‘Mindsight‘. As he says himself, a potent combination between emotional and social intelligence.

                      All of us deal with one disorder or another, something that seems to disturb the very core of our being at ease; and while it might not always be the best strategy to want to get rid of it, it certainly helps to understand and have compassion for that little aspect that upsets that perfect image of ourselves.

                      Brimming with techniques, insights and epiphanies, this book contains everything you need to know to reprogram your brain and to optimally use its capacity of neuroplasticity. A great book for spiritual seekers and scientists alike.

                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                      11. How to Win Friends & Influence People

                      by Dale Carnegie

                        This is the first self-improvement book I have ever read and it is also probably one of the oldest in this category.

                        Written in 1937, mainly for the door to door salesman of that era, this book by Carnegie can truly be called a classic. It shows what we all intuitively know:

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                        It doesn’t matter what your line of work is or what you want to achieve. If you are doing business of any kind, you need to make it about the other person.

                        Being nice helps, a lot. And while I might not fully defend the premise of this book because it doesn’t distinguish between genuine interest and faking it to get what you want; it still contains a treasure chest full of timeless wisdom.

                        Everybody wants to feel appreciated, and rightfully so. Learning to take a small effort to make someone’s day will make the world better no matter what your goal is.

                        I still spontaneously remember some of his guidance, and perhaps this quality is the reason why this book still draws millions of readers to this day.

                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                        12. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

                        by David D. Burns

                          Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most effective therapy used by psychologists today. It consists of identifying thought patterns that have a detrimental effect on your self-image and mood; and deconstructing these in order to break out of these destructive cycles.

                          If you want to know how this works, which moods are central in your life, what thought patterns are causing your depression, how to overcome self-judgment and guilt, how to defeat approval and love addiction and how your self-perfectionism is hindering you, then don’t look further.

                          Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has helped millions of people and it can help you, and this is the best book for the job. Packed with scientific research, exercises and examples, this is the best improvement your self is going to get.

                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                          13. Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life

                          by Maxwell Maltz

                            What can a plastic surgeon tell us about happiness?

                            By dealing with his patients, Dr. Maxwell Maltz experienced firsthand that having your expectations come true doesn’t automatically result into a more positive life experience. Their outward appearances did indeed change but their inner insecurity remained.

                            This caused him to find other means to help his patients, resulting in visualization techniques. He found a person’s outer success can never rise above the one visualized internally.

                            This book carries a very honest and humbling story, loaded with fundamental truths about our psychology and how our own philosophy affects us. This is all told by a very compassionate writer.

                            Of some books it can be said that it will be valuable for years to come, and I am absolutely positive that this is one of them.

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                            14. Thinking, Fast and Slow

                            by Daniel Kahneman

                              This brilliant book by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman is a lucid account of all the amazing research he has done over the years. He is the founder of behavioral economics – the way our psychology affects our decisions – and explains in simple prose how our thinking is divided in two systems: one fast and one slow. (Here’s an explanation on how these two systems work.)

                              The fast one is almost instant; it consists of the hardwired instincts that govern emotions, a remnant of an evolutionary past, an unconscious irrational machine.

                              The slow one is deliberate, self-reflexive and logical, but can easily be distracted and takes a lot of effort.

                              Both play a large role in our lives and Kahneman explores when the fast system fails and why the slow system is often not utilized.

                              Packed with mind blowing examples and sharp analyses, this book teaches you how to learn to make sound judgments, and use the best of both systems.

                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                              15. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

                              by Chris Hadfield

                                A few extraordinary people journey to the edge of our world and come back with a unique story to tell. Colonel Hadfield is such a person, and his story is perhaps the most important one in this list.

                                While the other books in this list teach you to be independent, visualize your future and dream big, this astronaut’s guide turns these all upside down.

                                A truly remarkable book, overflowing with mind-blowing stories that illustrate the life lessons he learned as one of the most accomplished astronauts that ever lived.

                                Full of compassion, warmth and genuine self-reflexive humor, he conveys to us to be prepared for the worst and never let yourself be swayed from enjoying every moment.

                                Part action story, part no-nonsense hard truth and part timeless spiritual wisdom, this book makes you feel like you stepped onto a rocket ship and experienced what he did while learning these most valuable lessons on the way.

                                eBook

                                16. Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat

                                by Paul Jaminet & Shou-Ching Jaminet

                                  No self-improvement list is complete without a nutrition book and the Perfect Health Diet is arguably the best diet book on the market now.

                                  If you are overweight or not, feel sick, or just looking for an extra boost in health (and keep it this way), then look no further.

                                  From reading decades of studies the authors construct the optimal way to eat, destroying popular food fads in the process. They explain in sufficient details the optimal macro-ratios of which starches are safe, which vitamins and supplements to take and what foods, or what they call toxins, to avoid.

                                  This book is a great supplement to the Paleo Manifesto as it shares its basic evolutionary perspective; we were evolved to eat non-toxic, high fat, moderate protein and carbohydrates.

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                                  And sometimes, going around with no food at all, can be a very healthy thing. If your body is not in optimal health, then it is almost no use to read the other books. Make this your priority number one.

                                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                  17. Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success

                                  by John C. Maxwell

                                    At one time or another, we will all fail. What matters most is how you deal with it once you do.

                                    Will you give up? Or will you use it as a stepping stone for success?

                                    I recently read an article about new start-ups in silicon valley. Its hypothesis was the more you had failed in the past, the more likely you were going to get funding.

                                    Why?

                                    Because failing teaches you invaluable lessons, and if you decide to continue after you hit the pavement, the more you have it in you to deliver.

                                    Now, this is not in anyway our instinctual reaction to failing. Most of us dread it, avoid it or refuse to fail at all costs. All three are by far sub-optimal. It is far better to accept failure where it arises, to accept responsibility and use it as a way to learn about yourself and your weaknesses.

                                    Only when you are absolute honest with yourself with respect to failure can you hope to grow. This wonderful book will teach you how to do exactly this. A honest book for everyone searching for a clean mirror.

                                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                    18. The Power of Now

                                    by Eckhart Tolle

                                      The Power of Now hardly needs any introduction. It is perhaps the book that has had the most impact on our collective consciousness in recent years.

                                      It inspired millions of people all over the world to live a more fulfilling and compassionate life, all through the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness consists of moment to moment non-judgmental awareness. 

                                      It is a technique that alleviates depression, increases emotional intelligence and develops compassion. And only recently has come to the west, which remained weary and skeptical until science had validated a wide array of its claims.

                                      The brain can be trained. The Power of Now teaches you how to release your attachment to certain thoughts and states of mind, thereby clearing the mind to fully embrace the present moment.

                                      If you already have read this book and are looking for deeper understanding, readWherever You Go, There You Are.

                                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                      19. The Last Lecture

                                      by Randy Pausch

                                        At some point or another, almost all of us has come across The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. (If you haven’t, watch this powerful message here.)

                                        What would you say when you only have a few months left to live? This was probably Pausch’s question he posed to himself when he had to deliver his lecture a week later.

                                        But being confined to an academic setting and short time frame, he felt he had more to share, thus marking the birth of this book.

                                        Filled with stories about his childhood, it is a very down to earth exploration of what it means to chase your dreams, to be a good person and live a life that gives value to others.

                                        A beautiful mixture of humor and optimism, his tender voice will be a source of inspiration for everyone who will take the time to listen, something he tried to impart on his readers.

                                        A very lovely read. And don’t forget, ‘It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.’
                                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                        20. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

                                        by Brené Brown

                                          I love Brené Brown’s books. She writes about an insight that I have found to be scary but true at the same time.

                                          Vulnerability, unlike we have been taught, is not a weakness, but a power to be tapped. Growing up with the idea that we have to hide certain parts of ourselves, to look strong and persevere at all costs always seemed a facade to me. And now she has the research to back that up.

                                          From that place of vulnerability comes a sense of worthiness, which for most of us, needs to be cultivated every day. Only if we get in touch with that tender spot of our hearts can we connect with others and develop genuine compassion, which are prerequisites, Brown tells us, for living a ‘wholehearted life.’

                                          The reality, however, is that we often close down, feel neglected and misunderstood, and rather want the vulnerability and perhaps even ourselves to disappear.

                                          This book is an amazing antidote for that common instinct. Want to be truly convinced? Check out her amazing ted talk here.

                                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                          21. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

                                          by Carl Sagan

                                            We all find UFO’s fascinating. We all really want to believe in magic or visiting aliens. (Surely the crop circles are conclusive proof!) And some of us believe the government is poisoning us with chemtrails.

                                            At the same time we are fascinated by the progress made by science, by all the new technology and medicines and the fascinating discoveries being

                                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

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                                            22. Philosophy for Life

                                            by Jules Evans

                                              As philosopher Sloterdijk puts it; ‘philosophy is a beautiful child of an ugly mother.’

                                              Philosophy first arose when the old Greek polis states were at the brink of destruction. Philosophy, according to Sloterdijk, was not just a way to make sense of the world, to come to knowledge or truth, but to serve as a psychological immune system.

                                              This book is an amazing expression of this perspective. From the stoics to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Jules Evans writes about some of the amazing philosophical techniques we can use to train and improve our cognitive immune systems.

                                              He weaves ancient stories with modern applications, from heroism to cosmic contemplation. Philosophy for Life is a beautifully written book that makes it easy to understand the practical nature of philosophy.

                                              Perhaps the book would have been better if he would have gone deeper into the subject matter, but nonetheless he captures the essence of what philosophy can mean for the modern person. A must read.

                                              Print | eBook

                                              23. Man’s Search For Meaning

                                              by Victor. E. Frankl

                                                If I had to pick one book from this list for mandatory reading, I would choose this one.

                                                For three years, Viktor Frankl labored in four different Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. He tells us about his experience and that of his fellow prisoners.

                                                Both chilling and uplifting, confronted with the idea that they would be trapped there for the rest of their lives; he gives us an account of those who found meaning and those who succumbed to nihilism.

                                                A blend between a memoir, a psychological investigation and a self-help book, Frankl delivers a powerful message:

                                                Finding meaning lies at the core of being human.

                                                From his own experience as a psychiatrist, combined with anecdotes from his time in the concentration camps, he tells us how important it is to find meaning in our own lives and what we can become if we don’t.

                                                Suffering, he conveys to us, is inevitable. But as to how we cope with it is dependent on ourselves. If we can find meaning, even in the worst acts our species have ever inflicted upon their fellow men, we will be able to move forward with renewed purpose.

                                                I also recommend you to check out this article to help you find out your purpose and passion that will motivate you to live in a meaningful way:

                                                How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

                                                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                24. Simplify

                                                by Joshua Becker

                                                  This is a fun little book written by Joshua Becker, a big proponent of minimalist living. We all know that quote from Fightclub: “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.” 

                                                  Well, this is ending.

                                                  Slowly we are outgrowing an era where the unquestioned mantra ‘more is always better’ dictates our behavior. Rather, we now find ourselves, our lives and our homes cluttered with too much information, too much stuff and just too much shit we don’t need.

                                                  This simple book helps you become aware of the freedom gained from living with less. It is a small book, easily read under an hour, but it carries a persuasive punch to start living live in a very different way.

                                                  eBook

                                                  25. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

                                                  by Kamal Ravikant

                                                    The fundamental ground upon which all true self improvement is build is called self-love. Because in the end, no matter which way you turn, if you don’t love yourself, you will sabotage yourself at one point. You will think that, for some reason or another, you are not worthy. And if you think that, why would you truly want to achieve anything?

                                                    And this is not just about achievement. This is about how you approach yourself every day; this is what you see when you look in the mirror.

                                                    We make so many snap-judgments about ourselves- often without being conscious of them- that are filled with negativity, haltering us before we can even begin to heal. This powerful book shows you the antidote.

                                                    Self love. Not to be confused with creating some narcissistic image of ourselves that some previous books in this list implicitly endorse, but self love, that inner gratefulness that no external condition can take away.

                                                    Self love, that infinite source you can share with others.

                                                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                    Final Thoughts

                                                    Now that you’ve got a list of the most inspirational books to improve your life, what should you do next? Read them all?

                                                    It’s of course best to read them all, but we only have so much brain energy to take all this knowledge. What if I tell you there’s a way to boost your brain power? Here it is:

                                                    How to Increase Brain Power, Boost Memory and Become 10X Smarter

                                                    More Books for Your Inspiration

                                                    30 Best Productivity Books You Should Read To Boost Your Productivity

                                                    35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life

                                                    Top 25 Books to Unleash Your Creative Potential

                                                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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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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