Monday, March 28, 2011

Fatigue

I came across this at the end of Confessions of an Organized Homemaker:

"I have read several studies about fatigue and have learned some interesting facts:
  • Tiredness is emotionally induced 90 percent of the time.
  • Frustrations, irritations and worry drain energy.
  • The mere contemplation of work causes more fatigue than the job itself.
  • Fatigue is not always related to the amount of energy we use buy how much we dislike the task.  Procrastination, by the way, adds dislike to our chores.  The longer we put off an important project, the more threatening and unattractive it becomes.
  • The people who are most tired are those whose behavior and work methods demonstrate disorder.
  • Proper diet and exercise are necessary to fight fatigue."
I don't know about you, but I find this fascinating... and true.  I know I always feel better if I just start doing the thing I don't want to do.  If I sit around thinking about how much I don't want to do something, that task starts to take on huge proportions and I start to dread it more and more.  It is almost a relief sometimes just to start doing such a task because I often find it is not as horrible as I made it out to be.

It also explains why, when I feel as though my home is under control and have been working steadily, I feel less tired than when I have been avoiding tasks and have the vague (or not so vague) notion that life is quickly spinning out of control.  In fact, I have learned that the more I want to just climb into bed and pull up the covers, that it is a huge sign that something in my life needs to be dealt with.  Stress, for me, shows up as extreme fatigue, even if I have had a full night's sleep.

What is doubly interesting about this is when I think about it light of some brain research I've recently read about.  It seems that our mind has the ability to reprogram our brain.  A quick example, in one study, a group of people who were prone to severe depression were taught that the depression symptoms were a result of the brain sending signals to the wrong part of the brain.  The symptoms were real, but if the brain could be rewired, the symptoms had the possibility of disappearing.  The participants were taught to tell themselves at each instance of the symptoms that this was merely their brain sending signals in the wrong manner.  Over time, as the participants did that, the researchers found that new neural pathways were being constructed that were healthier.  It was not a cure-all, and not all the participants had positive results, but a good percentage of the participants were helped by this practice.

All that to say is that it seems possible that God has provided a way for our brains to restructure when necessary.  If we get in the habit of recognizing the real reason we are feeling fatigued... instead of thinking, "Oh, I'm so tired!", we think, I must be worried about something... or what I am avoiding?... or this is a sign my life is disordered, what can I do about it?... we could teach ourselves to function in a healthier way.  It's kind of like thinking we're hungry when what we really are is thirsty.  Maybe.

Of course, I'm no expert and I could be totally making all this up.  Do I need to provide the disclaimer that none of this constitutes medical advice, etc., etc.?  It is just my idle musings as I find connections between all of my completely disparate reading.
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I have yet one more article posted, this time on Surviving Toddlerhood.  I knew I had been writing a lot, but hadn't realized exactly how much.  No wonder I looked at my sewing machine the other day and wondered why I hadn't used it in a while.  Oh, and did I mention that every time someone clicks on the link to one of my articles, it goes into some grand tally system and the writer whose article gets the most hits wins a $25 gift certificate?  My linking them here to the blog is really quite self-serving... J. and I like to be able to go out to eat now and then.

3 comments:

thecurryseven said...

Of course, I should add, that when one is up all night with a child or two, than fatigue is just that... fatigue.

LawMommy said...

These two are so very true as they relate to my professional life:

•The mere contemplation of work causes more fatigue than the job itself.
•Fatigue is not always related to the amount of energy we use buy how much we dislike the task. Procrastination, by the way, adds dislike to our chores. The longer we put off an important project, the more threatening and unattractive it becomes.


This is why I feel so tired when I know that probate accounts must be tackled (a mountain of paperwork and frustration.)

Erica said...

This so perfectly describes today (and a lot of other days as well) for me. I was tired from having a headache all night that was still there this morning. Hence I didn't do much work in the house until after lunch. Once I started working my headache became smaller.

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