Scientists once tried to find out how long the human brain could labor without reaching “a diminished capacity for work,” the scientific definition of fatigue. To the amazement of the scientists, they discovered that blood passing through the brain, when it is active, shows no fatigue at all! For example, if you took blood from the veins of a day laborer while he was working, you would find it full of “fatigue toxins” and fatigue products. But if you took a drop of blood from the brain of an Albert Einstein, it would show no fatigue toxins whatever at the end of the day.
So far as the brain is concerned, it can work “as well and as swiftly at the end of eight or even twelve hours of effort as at the beginning.”
So if the brain is utterly tireless…what makes you tired?
Psychiatrists declare that most of our fatigue derives from our mental and emotional attitudes. One of England’s most distinguished psychiatrist, J.A. Hadfield, says in his book The Psychology of Power: “The greater part of the fatigue from which we suffer is of mental origin; in fact exhaustion of purely physical origin is rare.”
Stop now, right where you are, and give yourself a checkup. As you read these lines, are you scowling at the computer? Do you feel a strain between the eyes? Are you sitting relaxed in your chair, or are you hunching up your shoulders? Are the muscles of your face tense? Unless your entire body is as limp and relaxed as an old rag doll, you are at this very moment producing nervous tension and muscular tensions—which lead to nervous fatigue.
Here are four suggestions from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan that will help you learn to relax:
Think like a cat — Have you ever seen a tired cat, a cat with a nervous breakdown, or a cat suffering from insomnia, worry, or stomach ulcers? Me either. Cats are notoriously relaxed creatures. Pick up a kitten sleeping in the sunshine and both ends sag like a wet newspaper. Just let your body go limp at odd moments throughout the day and learn to relax like a cat does.
Get comfortable — Work, as much as possible, in a comfortable position. Remember that tensions on the body produce aching shoulders and nervous fatigue.
Develop the habit of relaxing — Check yourself four or five times a day, and say to yourself, “Am I making my work harder than it actually is? Am I using muscles that have nothing to do with the work I am doing?” This will help you form the habit of relaxing.
Test yourself at the end of the day — Ask yourself at the end of the day, “Just how tired am I?” And if you are tired, try to determine if it’s because of the mental work you have done, or the way you have done it. Chance are, when you feel particularly tired or irritable at the end of the day, it has been an inefficient day both as to quantity and quality.
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @micarnegie.