Can your brain become tired?
Finding it hard to relax your mind too?
Thinking can be tiring!
Did you know that the average person has over 6,000 thoughts per day?
Your mind is constantly jumping from thought to thought.
We only became aware of this, while learning meditation in a temple in Thailand years ago. The Buddhist monks called us monkeys: ‘Because your mind is jumping constantly from thought to thought, like a monkey jumping from tree to tree.’
And yes, thinking too much can make you tired indeed!
Here are 3 scientific reasons why you can feel tired from thinking a lot.
#1. Your brain can become tired, like a muscle:
Sure, your brain is not a muscle, but an organ. It consists of a bit of muscle tissue, but mostly of fat. However, your brain can become tired indeed!
This is how it works.
Your brain needs fuel, energy and gets this by glucose. When glucose enters the brain’s cells, it turns into ATP (short for adenosine triphosphate). This is a complex organic chemical that stores and transfers energy into cells.
When your brain works hard – by processing a lot of information in example – you use a lot of glucose. And when these glucose levels lower, the ATP levels are rising.
A very interesting thing to know, is that ATP blocks dopamine – the chemical that makes you feel good and keeps you motivated. When your brain can’t get enough dopamine, you’re less likely to stay on task. So even though your brain is not a muscle, you can tire it out by thinking too much.
#2. Your brain needs blood
Another reason that makes you feel tired when you overthink is that your brain needs blood. The brain is quite complex, but to say it in an easy way: Your brain sends blood to the part of the body that needs it most. In example, when you run, your brain sends extra blood to your thigh muscles.
When you think hard; processing difficult information, or doing combined tasks etc, the brain is getting more blood and other parts of the body receive less.
For a small period of time this is okay, but for a longer period, you can have digestion problems or other parts of the body can feel weary because all the attention goes to the brain.
#3. Negative thoughts can wear you out
But not all thoughts make you tired fortunately. Emotional effects that you attach to your thoughts, play a big impact.
If your thoughts are positive, your body releases more dopamine, serotonin, we call them happy hormones.
But if your thoughts are negative, the body responds differently. If the negative thoughts give you stress, the body reacts as in a ‘fight or flight’ situation, setting off a chain reaction in your body like tensing muscles, releasing cortisol (the stress hormone).
These chemical reactions that start in your body when you have a negative thought, make your heart race, speed up your breathing, your muscles tighten etc, so you are ready to be alert.
This alertness is great for a moment, but if you have this for a longer period your body can become exhausted.
So now we know 3 reasons why you can become tired of thinking too much.
So what to do?
First of all be aware of the impacts your thoughts have on your health!
Take good care of your brain.
Find ways to relax your brain and find ways to control your thoughts (positive thoughts).
Create a happy, healthy and stress-free day. And take good care of your brain!