Psychiatrists declare that most of our fatigue derives from our mental and emotional attitudes. One of England’s most distinguished psychiatrists in Dale Carnegie’s day, 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.”
Another distinguished psychiatrist of the time, Dr. A. A. Brill, goes even further. He 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.”
Stop now, right where you are, and give yourself a checkup. As you read these lines, are you scowling at the screen? 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? These are all signs of nervous tension and nervous fatigue!
Remember—the key to improved productivity is learning to relax. Here are four suggestions for accomplishing that from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Philadelphia:
Relax in odd moments — Let your body go limp like an old sock. You might even keep a sock by your desk as a reminder. If that’s impractical, think of a cat. Even the yogis in India say that if you want to master the art of relaxation, study the cat. Think about it…have you ever seen a tired cat, or a cat with a nervous breakdown? Have you ever seen a cat suffering from insomnia, worry, or stomach ulcers? You will probably avoid these afflictions if you learn to relax as the cat does.
Work in a comfortable position — Remember that tensions on the body produce aching shoulders and nervous fatigue.
Evaluate what you’re doing — Ask yourself four or five times a day if you’re making your work harder than it needs to be. Take note of what muscles you’re using and if they’re needed for the task at hand. This will help you form the habit of relaxing.
Reflect at the end of the day — Ask yourself how tired you are at the end of the day. And if you are tired, is it because of the mental work you’ve done, or the way you have done it? Generally, if you feel particularly tired at the end of the day, or if irritability proves that your nerves are tired, it’s quite likely been an inefficient day in terms of quantity and quality. Make note of what changes you need to make, and approach the next day with a new mindset!
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