Scientists have long tried to find out how the human brain could labor without reaching “a diminished capacity for work,” the scientific definition of fatigue. To the amazement of these scientists, they discovered that blood passing through the brain, when it is active, shows no fatigue at all! 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.” The brain is utterly tireless. So what, then, makes you tired?
Psychiatrists declare that most of our fatigue derives from our mental and emotional attitudes. One of America’s most distinguished psychiatrists, Dr. A.A. Brill, declared, “One hundred percent of the fatigue of the sedentary worker in good health is due to psychological factors, by which we mean emotional factors.”
Indeed then, it is emotional factors like boredom, resentment, a feeling of not being appreciated, a feeling of futility, hurry, anxiety, and worry that make the sedentary worker susceptible to colds, reduce his output, and send him home with a nervous headache.
The answer to this nervous fatigue is to simply learn to relax—and it begins with relaxing your muscles. Start with your eyes closed: lean back and silently say, “Let go. Let go. Stops straining, stop frowning. Just let go…” You can do the same thing with the jaw, with the muscles of the face, with the neck, with the shoulders, and so forth for the whole of the body. The eyes are most important, however, as they are said to burn up one fourth of all the nervous energies consumed by the body.
Here are four suggestions that will help you learn to relax from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Ohio:
Relax in odd moments — Let your body go limp like an old sock. If the image of an old sock doesn’t work for you, think of a cat. Even the yogis in India say that if you want to master the art of relaxation, study the cat, who always seems to be in a perpetual state of relaxation.
Work from a comfortable position — Remember that tensions on the body produce aching shoulder and nervous fatigue.
Check yourself four or five times a day — Ask 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 to form the habit of relaxing.
Test yourself again at the end of the day — Ask yourself just how tired you are at the end of the day. Author Daniel W. Josselyn said, “I measure my accomplishments not by how tired I am at the end of the day, but how tired I am not. When I feel particularly tired at the end of the day, or when irritability proves that my nerves are tired, I know beyond question that it has been an inefficient day both as to quantity and quality.”
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Photo credit: Stuart Miles