Do you feel like you forget seemingly simple things sometimes, perhaps you've lost the keys a few too many times this week. Did you know that the average person has about 6000 thoughts a day, whoa! No wonder we feel tired sometimes. Cognitive fatigue, also known as mental fatigue or brain fatigue (or what I like to call "brain fog"),
refers to a state of reduced mental alertness, focus, and overall cognitive functioning that occurs as a result of prolonged cognitive activity. It's the feeling of mental exhaustion that people experience after engaging in tasks that require significant mental effort and concentration. This can include activities like studying for exams, working on complex problem-solving tasks, or even extended periods of decision-making.
Cognitive fatigue is characterized by a range of symptoms, which can include:
Difficulty Concentrating: Individuals may find it challenging to maintain their focus and attention on tasks.
Slower Information Processing: Processing information and making decisions might take longer than usual.
Reduced Working Memory: Short-term memory and the ability to hold and manipulate information in the mind can be impaired.
Increased Errors: As cognitive resources are depleted, errors in tasks may become more frequent.
Feeling of Mental Exhaustion: People might experience a sense of mental tiredness, similar to physical fatigue.
Irritability and Mood Changes: Cognitive fatigue can influence mood, leading to irritability, frustration, and mood swings.
Physical Symptoms: In some cases, cognitive fatigue can manifest as physical symptoms such as headaches, eye strain, and muscle tension.
Have you ticked any of these boxes? Whilst cognitive fatigue is a normal response to prolonged mental effort, it can have a real impact on our physical and mental health and if left unchecked could lead to burnout. And burnout can hurt our brain! In fact, research indicates that that chronic stress impacts our whole system and can change the way our brain functions (Michel, 2016). We can become increasingly exhausted, dispassionate and cynical about everything (and that's not great for ourselves or the people that love us)
Now we know if we visit a doctor they may say;
Have more holidays
Manage your stress
Eat a balanced diet
Take this pill
And yet, sometimes it's just not that easy and we can come away feeling even more depleted. We can feel like giving up sometimes. Counselling is a wonderful way to bring compassion and understanding to our thoughts and how they impact our physical health. It can help us to slow down and notice our motivations and desires, it can give us just a little space so that we can start making some changes that bring restoration and rest. It can help us understand the patterning in our brains that has been wiring since the beginning of our life. It can help us to take captive our thoughts and hold them against God's Word. What is lovely, admirable, true and praiseworthy. This can bring transformative change that leads to growth and life for Christians!
How do you find rest for your weary mind?