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The brain is like a muscle, and it needs a variety of stimuli. After studying, following a course, or doing some deep mental work, the brain can feel ‘full” and tired. It has to rearrange all knowledge and experiences stored on the brain’s temporary drive (your random access memory drive).
Is your brain “full” too, and do you feel tired? Try these five steps to overcome mental fatigue!
Give your brain a rest
The first step is to give your brain a rest. This is best done with some good nights of sleep. What helps me to rest my brain (and to be more receptive to learning new things) is to laugh. Ask someone (preferably a child) to tell you a joke or watch a comedy. Another possibility to rest the brain is to do sports or take a walk.
Find out what you want to do
When the brain has rested enough, you can take step 2. This is actually to find out what you want and what to do next. I wrote a blog about this which you might want to read and make a lifeline for yourself. Stand still to see where you have been and where you’re going. The key is to write down your goals and how you will realize them (and preferably by what date). One of my goals is to finally learn blind typing. For this, I will have to follow a course. Since I know what I want to achieve enables me to be more receptive to learning new skills.
Take a decision and act!
Step 3 is to make a decision and take action. This can also mean going on a vacation or to a wellness resort. When choosing to follow a course, you might think that standard classroom education can be dull for the mind. Studies have shown that students are more receptive to new knowledge when they’re in a flow. This is when you’re acting based on your own character strengths. Being in flow gives energy and shining eyes.
Perhaps you’re too tired to listen and watch the black- or smartboard in a classroom. An alternative can be an online class. I enjoy following courses on www.udemy.com, and there are a lot of interesting webinars to participate in.
The next step (number 4) is a visualization technique. This can be done in a quiet space. Sit down and breathe calmly. Visualize yourself being in your own house. Open all the doors and windows of your house and welcome all people and opportunities to enter so you can learn. The key is to repeat this exercise for at least 30 days. Overcoming mental fatigue and becoming receptive is changing your mindset from being closed to being open. This takes time.
Do something Spontaneous
As said before, the brain needs a variety of stimuli. Step 5 is to do something unexpected or spontaneous once in a while. Go visit someone you haven’t seen for a long time, bring a cake, and just listen. Be curious. Walk in that alley you’d normally not enter going to work. Look around and look up to see the windows, the roofs, and the sky. Slow down, listen to yourself and listen to others.
What step works for you? Are there other techniques to overcome mental fatigue, and how do you become more energetic? Let me know in the comment field below. The other readers of this article. and I are looking forward to reading from you!
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Update: I wrote the original article on April 1st, 2016, and it was updated on November 4, 2022.