Burnout expert and nutritional therapist Rosie Millen looks at how stress, negativity and self-doubt can affect your energy levels, and how the power of the mind can help…
Did you know that emotional stress has a greater impact on your adrenal glands than physical stress? If you are constantly worrying about something or having negative thoughts, it is going to make you tired.
Try doing the following exercises and activities to reduce stress, combat self-doubt and restore your energy levels…
1. Write down your thoughts
Get really clear on your thought triggers. Ask yourself, for each thought, ‘if that negative thought became a reality, what would happen?’ Then write down 1) The worst-case scenario, 2) the best-case scenario, 3) what is most likely to actually happen? By doing this, you’re likely to realise you’ll be able to deal with each outcome, whatever the case.
2. Talk about your worries
A problem shared is a problem halved. Just talking to someone, be it a friend or family member, about your worries reduces the intensity.
3. Focus on the good
Rather than spending time thinking about what you can’t do and don’t have, focus on being grateful for the things you can do and do have.
Write three things you’ve achieved each day, however small, and three things you are grateful for at that moment in your life. Just thinking about them can improve your mood.
4. Ask yourself: is it useful?
Next time you have a negative thought, ask yourself ‘Is that thought useful?’ Chances are that nine times out of 10 the answer will be no.
5. Distract and interrupt negative thoughts
You can interrupt negative thoughts by doing something else to distract yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to step away from your situation.
So, if you are stuck in your head, go for a walk, make a cup of tea or do a gentle workout. It will shift your perspective.
6. Meditate to lower stress and restore energy
Taking a moment to focus on your breathing is a simple way of reducing your stress levels. A report published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that meditation can help ease anxiety, depression and pain.
The study found people who meditated over a short period of time had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and lower levels of inflammation. Try setting two alarms each day to do some deep breathing.
Try the following meditation exercise to get started:
- Sit comfortably on a chair or on the floor and close your eyes.
- Take a deep breath in, followed by a deep breath out.
- When you are comfortable, at the next inhale touch your index finger to your thumb on both hands and breath out slowly.
- When you inhale again, touch your middle finger to your thumb, on both hands.
- Repeat this process with all fingers, until you have inhaled and exhaled 10 times.
- Once you have completed 10 rounds, either start again or open your eyes and continue your day.
Rosie Millen studied at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition and graduated in 2010. In 2014, Rosie was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and knows what it is like to be so tired, you can’t get out of bed. Her book, Burnout’s A B*tch! (£20) is out now.