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Easing Fatigue

Welcome to Easing Fatigue, an e-booklet in The HeartMath


Empowerment Series. All material contained in this document is
copyrighted by HeartMath LLC and any unauthorized use is strictly
prohibited.

Our intention in presenting this aspect of HeartMath’s material is to


share practical information and useful techniques with people who are
looking for a more satisfying and fulfilling life experience.

We appreciate and support your interest in the HeartMath System, and


in learning how to use your own heart’s intelligence as an efficient
source of intuition and answers to apply to all areas of your life.
For additional e-booklets and recordings, or to learn more about the
Institute of HeartMath:
- Please call toll free (800) 711-6221
- Or write to [Institute of HeartMath, 14700 West Park Ave.,
Boulder Creek California 95006]
- Or, for an immediate overview of HeartMath, visit us online at:
o www.heartmath.org

HeartMath is a registered trademark of Institute of HeartMath. emWave and Personal Stress

Reliever and Freeze-Framer are trademarks of Quantum Intech, Inc.

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Easing Fatigue
Ongoing fatigue is becoming an increasing problem for people of all
ages in modern society today. You may have heard the saying, “I’m
just sick and tired of feeling sick and tired!” This lament often comes
from healthy, fully functioning people who feel caught in an ongoing
weariness that just won’t lift. Maybe you’re feeling that kind of bone-
deep fatigue these days and are wondering what you can do to help
yourself feel better. You are about to discover new information and
simple ways to ease fatigue that you can use immediately.

The kind of fatigue we’ll address in this e-booklet is different from the
kind of tiredness that results from a long day’s work or a strenuous
physical workout. It’s also important to make the distinction between
the kind of weariness discussed here, and severe types of fatigue
associated with clinical illnesses, such as chronic fatigue and immune
dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS). What we’re talking about here is an
ongoing fatigue and exhaustion that shows up as a result of how we
respond to the wear and tear of everyday life.

Part 1: Fatigue and Stress


At HeartMath, we look at fatigue in the context of stress, and then
apply practical methods of stress reduction to boost energy. A key
discovery underlying the approach you’re about to learn is that the
energy drain from mental and emotional unrest is often overlooked
when people try to deal with fatigue. And yet, our thoughts and
emotions often are the greatest contributors to fatigue. Most people
think fatigue sets in because of all the things they have to do and
getting to bed too late at night.

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It can be eye opening to understand the impact that your thoughts
and your emotions have on your physical vitality, even when you’re
getting plenty of sleep. Emotions, or feelings, play an especially large
part. Once you see this and begin to make some simple changes in the
way you “do life,” you’ll notice an easing of fatigue. You’ll gain
emotional balance, resulting in a more satisfying experience in day-to-
day living. The place to turn for help is within your own heart. More on
that later.

One of the first things to realize is that ongoing fatigue doesn’t happen
overnight. Like stress in general, it accumulates over time, as we so
often try to push on no matter what. Many times, fatigue actually
comes from the accumulation of our emotional responses to the little
hassles—the everyday, undetected frustrations, annoyances, and
irritations that drain us. A wise person once said, “It isn’t the
mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the grain of sand in your
shoe.” Yes, it’s the small stuff that often wears us out—frequently
without our realizing it.

Let’s take a look at the way thoughts and emotions contribute to


fatigue in day-to-day living. The bioelectrical system of each human
being has tides of energy flowing through it all the time: physical,
emotional, mental, and spiritual. As your self-awareness increases,
you’ll be able to discern when your physical rhythms are low and you
need to slow down a bit; when your emotions are more sensitive and
you need to be gentler with yourself; and when your mind needs a rest
from activity before you can think clearly again. You will also be able

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to tell the difference between tiredness caused by a natural low ebb in
the tides or the kind of fatigue you feel, even at high tide, because
your mental or emotional energy is getting drained.

Being able to understand what HeartMath calls the language of the


feeling world, where energy accumulates or is drained away, is a
powerful next step to a life of more regeneration and vitality. As you
begin to understand the language of your feeling world, you can better
understand how to care for yourself (and others) more effectively.

If you are feeling fatigued too often and don’t know why, chances are
that by learning to unlock the door to what’s really going on in your
feeling world, you’ll discover how much of your fatigue is caused by
draining feelings and attitudes.

Whether we’re aware of it or not, life is an energy game. Our inner


experiences throughout a day include thousands of thoughts, feelings
and impressions that directly impact our energy levels. It’s not easy to
keep up with all of them but we can become more self-observant,
catching ourselves when we’re thinking and feeling in ways that are
deducting from our energy bank account, and then skillfully adopting
attitudes and perspectives that give us a boost.

We start each day with a certain amount of energy. If those energy


reserves are continually spent in stress reactions, there simply won’t
be enough energy left to replenish our reserves or to maintain a
healthy immune system. When our energy gets drained through stress
on a regular basis, we are paving the way for fatigue and exhaustion.

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Consider this: the way you accumulate and spend your vital energy
reserve each day is a primary factor that determines the overall
quality of your life.

Part II: The Power of Emotions


Because most people are not used to associating the emotions they’ve
had with how tired they feel by the end of the day or how much
energy they have left over on the weekend, starting to notice how you
spend your emotional energy will likely require a shift in awareness—
and a little experimentation.

Before we delve into ways to make this shift, it’s important to note
that even experimenting with this is a cause for celebration. Because
once you see what’s going on, you can choose to change. And change
is much easier when you’ve got tools to use in conjunction with
growing awareness. By the end of this e-booklet you’ll begin to see
fatigue in a new light—not as a bad thing, but more as a useful feeling,
or signal, encouraging you to consider your life in another way, and
have more compassion for yourself in the process.

Think of it this way: if you use a flashlight and it started to go dim, the
first thing you might do is shake it to try to get the electrical
connection back. If that doesn’t work, you’d probably open it up and
check the batteries. When our personal vitality dims because our
batteries are run down, we don’t tend to address the electrical
connection inside our own systems or think about how to recharge our
batteries. Instead we may tend to get cranky and look for someone or

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something to take it out on. We’ve all seen young children do that, but
so do adults. Human beings often don’t tend to respect their own
system’s energy needs the way we respect the simple mechanical
operations of a flashlight.

Here’s an example of how unmanaged feelings can create energy


drains that create fatigue. When we are tired during the day, for
whatever reason, a common response is to blame something, a
situation, or someone. Here are some common examples of blame that
might seem like no big deal or seem like such normal ways of
responding to our feelings that we don’t even think of these attitudes
as blaming:

- I can never get all my work done because my boss is just too
demanding.
- When I get home, I never get any time to myself because my
kids always need me to do something.
- I feel so tired when the weekend comes and I can’t stand being
hounded into doing household chores.
- I wish I felt more energy; I wonder what’s wrong with me?

Blame is a draining attitude to hold, no matter where it’s aimed. In the


examples just given, you can see how each can lead to feelings of
overwhelm or feeling victimized by circumstances, which leads to more
fatigue. The habitual way people express these feelings is so ingrained
that it usually goes unnoticed: they complain, and most frequently,
there’s blame lodged in the complaint.

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Once we let fatigue-driven blame get to a certain point of intensity, it
flings open the door to other draining attitudes, such as feeling sorry
for ourselves or wallowing in a pitiful state. After our vitality drops
below a certain point, only an energy jump-start will build us back up
to a basic operating level, where we feel everything’s all right. That’s
often why people seek outside stimulation to find a boost, when in fact
a lot of the build up could have been prevented with a little self-
observation and a desire to stop the downward spiral of emotional
energy.

Think of a car battery that frequently needs jump-starting. The power


in a car battery diminishes more rapidly when there’s a breakdown in
the generator or alternator. You can’t just keep getting someone to
give you a jump-start every time you want to drive somewhere.
Eventually you have to get the generator fixed. In the human energy
system your heart—physically, emotionally and spiritually—is the
generator that keeps your internal batteries continuously recharged.
Living more in the heart of each moment, consciously being in touch
with your heart awareness and the positive feelings associated with
heart, keeps the generator humming and your batteries charged.

In your heart, you can find the answers you need to best ease fatigue.
In the heart, you can access a range of beneficial feelings and begin to
replace draining feelings with more energy boosting feelings, such as
sincere appreciation and care. Each time you activate the power of
your heart and experience what we call core heart feelings, like
appreciation and care, you fortify your internal energy system. As
we’ve seen in HeartMath research studies, these beneficial feelings

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create far more than a psychological effect. They physiologically boost
the energy efficiency of your entire body. For that reason, we like to
think of these positive emotions as “quantum nutrients.”

As a society, we’ve come to be so careful about what we put into our


bodies. As early as pre-school, children learn that eating a balanced
meal is the key to proper nutrition. There is huge attention paid to
what we ingest, in terms of foods, supplements, beverages, and the
like. New discoveries are now showing us that the thoughts and
feelings we have are equally if not more important than what we eat.
Our mental and emotional diets determine our overall energy levels,
health and well-being more than we realize.

So, when we consciously evoke core heart feelings, we nourish our


bodies at the quantum level. Our mood may visibly improve, but the
most powerful effects are invisible. These quantum nutrients keep the
cells regenerating. Quantum nutrients regenerate our mental and
emotional systems, warding off the “energy eaters” of stress, anxiety
and fatigue before they take hold. As our entire system aligns with
these beneficial emotions, we begin to experience a new level of
energy efficiency. What started off as psychological nutrition becomes
physiological at the deepest level.

Part III: Building Your Energy Reserves


Now, let’s look at this from a practical perspective, in terms of your
own life. You’ll see how you can begin, right now, to take better care

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of your energy reserves. Remember, it’s the way you accumulate and
spend your vital energy reserves that is a primary factor in
determining the quality of your life. You might not be used to
associating your emotions with your energy level, but perhaps you’ve
noticed that when you’re feeling enthusiastic about something your
energy goes up. On the other hand, how often do you associate the
negative emotions you’ve experienced with how tired you feel by mid-
afternoon or at the end of the day?

What if you had an inner computer—a heart computer—that could


calculate every thought, feeling and emotion? Suppose it logged in
each one, determining whether it added energy or took away energy
and how much it increased or depleted your vitality. Then it provided a
read-out that represented your available energy reserves.

In a sense, this inner computer exists. Whether we like it or not, we


are accountable for our energy expenditures. In physics, the Law of
Conservation of Energy states that energy can never be created or
destroyed. It can only be changed from one form to another.

We wake up in the morning with a certain amount of vital energy to


spend each day. It’s up to us whether we expend it in efficient or non-
efficient thoughts, feelings and attitudes as we go about our day.
Allowing stress to take control of us spends our internal energy fast,
while choosing more beneficial feelings and responses saves energy,
keeping our systems in sync.

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It can be useful to think of our energy expenditures in terms of a
simple balance sheet: Are they assets? Or deficits? Some of our
thoughts and emotional responses are assets that contribute energy to
our system. Others are deficits that deplete and drain us. Some are
subtle, some are obvious. Some are more benign and neutral than
others. But all of our inner dialogs, thought processes and feeling
states fall generally into either the asset or the deficit category.

Clearly, if we are accumulating more assets than deficits, our energy


bank account is growing in value. Accumulating assets results in more
vitality, adaptability, resiliency, creativity and a steady improvement in
a healthy quality of life—psychologically and physically.

If our deficits accrue faster than our assets, the reverse kicks in. Our
energy account is diminishing in value. We become emotionally spent
and wear out quicker. Our creativity and overall intelligence
diminishes, as does our ability to roll with the punches while keeping
hopeful and positive perspectives. If we are accumulating more deficits
than assets, our quality of life decreases significantly. This is often the
underlying cause of fatigue.

Try this exercise. Identify five things that stress you out on a daily
basis, things you could change fairly easily, if you put your heart to it.
These would be deficits. Simple examples would be considering the
stress you feel:
(1) driving in traffic
(2) before meetings
(3) looking at your overbooked schedule

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(4) communicating with a particular family member
(5) thinking about money issues.

Stop for a minute and create your own deficit list—the areas in your
life where you regularly feel stressful emotions. Next make a game
with yourself to do your best to reduce the stressful responses to the
deficit list for just a single day. By isolating just a handful of common
stressors, you can take a more objective and even playful approach to
responding to them differently.

When you start to tense up, notice how you’re feeling and make an
effort to shift to a more positive feeling of ease or appreciation.
Shifting out of stress into positive emotions will stop the deficit and
accumulate energy assets. Try experiencing more care when you find
yourself getting upset with others. Try appreciating something when
you feel down or disappointed, and so on. This takes practice to do
but it’s worth the sincere effort. You can stay conscious of what you
are feeling, arrest deficit-building stressors and accumulate assets
though making an effort to change your emotional state. Evaluate how
you feel at the end of the day.

Become your own scientist and try playing an asset deficit game.
There’s no real mystery. You’re going to feel better after reducing your
stress. It’s not a theory. It’s a physiological fact. When you improve
your energy efficiency, you have more energy to spare! See if you
have more energy at the end of the day you managed your emotions
on those five things you identified.

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As you begin to place importance on observing your thoughts, feelings,
attitudes, actions and reactions, you will gradually develop a more
keen awareness of your mental and emotional assets that you
probably have taken for granted. Acknowledging your assets gives you
more conscious control over the deficits and the fulfillment you
experience. As simple as it sounds, this is actually an advanced skill.
How many people take a serious approach to self-observation of their
thoughts and emotions, then investing those energy resources wisely
as they go? Fine-tuning your understanding of how you are investing
your mental and emotional energy is an effective approach to reducing
fatigue.

You can take your power back from draining emotional reactions, and
increasingly build the power you need to make the changes you want.
It’s a simple equation: Stop energy drains and infuse your system with
free positive energy as you go equals more power and clarity.

In “street sense” terms, this means fill your bucket but first plug the
holes. When your energy accumulators are full, events and situations
that would previously have bothered or stressed you are seen more
easily as opportunities. By stopping your mental and emotional drains
and building up heart buoyancy, you can see what drags you into
fatigue and start to become aware enough to stop it the next time. It
begins by being aware of what’s going on in your feeling world.

Learning to understand what your feelings are telling you—whether


they are draining energy or building ease and buoyancy—is not an
overnight process. As with most things, learning will take place

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incrementally, over time, and will be reinforced by practicing new
attitudes and paying attention in the process.

Having patience and compassion for yourself is always important, and


this is especially so if you are feeling fatigued. If your batteries are
down, as in the flashlight analogy, you may be in genuine need of
recharging. Recharging often requires downtime. You may find
yourself needing more rest for a while. If you can take the balanced
rest you need without adding further drain to your depleted reserves
by worrying about what you’re not doing, you’ll recharge a lot faster.

When we’re worn out and fatigued, we long for peace and quiet. We
may feel that peace and quiet is something we have to go somewhere
else to get. But when we listen to our heart intelligence, we can create
inner compartments of stored peace and quiet. We can accumulate
peace and quiet inside by making attitude adjustments as we go. Look
at life as an energy economy game. A good question to ask each day
is, “Are my energy expenditures (actions, reactions, thoughts and
feelings) assets or deficits? During the course of my day, have I
accumulated more stress or more peace?”

As you grow in heart awareness, you’ll notice more quickly when


draining feelings are contributing to fatigue. Genuine self-care will
make sense from a whole new perspective. It just makes sense to feel
better, and your heart can show you how.

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Next Steps
In this e-booklet you learned about the underlying cause of most
ongoing fatigue and how using your emotional energy wisely can help
to reduce it. Becoming conscious of your energy expenditures is an
important step but you will also need a way to stop emotional drains
and to cultivate the positive emotions and attitudes that will
regenerate you.

If you’d like to lean about the tools, techniques and technology of the
HeartMath System that can help ease fatigue, we recommend the
following resources.

Some of this chapter was excerpted from Doc Childre’s and Deborah
Rozman’s book Overcoming Emotional Chaos. You can learn about
several techniques and tools to use while in action during your day
that will help you prevent and stop energy drain. There are two
additional books that are especially helpful for easing fatigue and for
emotional regeneration. Transforming Stress and Transforming Anxiety
by Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman are easy reads that offer specific
HeartMath techniques which help you generate positive emotional
states. Any or all of these books will provide helpful information and
give you the tools you need to manage your energy expenditures and
reduce ongoing fatigue.

Our technology products, emWave2® handheld unit with computer


interface and the emWave Desktop are also very useful for building
your resilience capacity. They utilize a patented process that guides
users to create more internal coherence, a highly synchronized and
regenerative state. Both the emWave2 mobile device with computer

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interface and the emWave Desktop work on PC and Mac computers.
Using either of these powerful tools along with any of the HeartMath
techniques can provide a calming yet energizing effect that can help
offset symptoms of stress such as anger, fatigue, sleeplessness,
anxiety, etc. and also train you in how to shift into uplifting emotions.

To learn more about these tools, resources and training programs that
can help you ease fatigue and cultivate increased coherence and
emotional balance, please visit our web site at www.heartmath.org or
call us toll free at (800) 711-6221.

All the best and take care!

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