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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, what it is and how to avoid it

Updated on September 25, 2013

The chronic fatigue syndrome

In our everyday life we seem to be running everywhere, always plenty of things to do and time seems never to be enough. But even if you don’t have an ectic life surely you would have experienced a common state: Tiredness. First of all we need to differentiate between different kind of “feeling tired”. We can feel tired after a task for which we had to stay in focus for a very long time or we can be tired after running a marathon (or more likely after simply run 100 meters to catch up with the bus we are about to miss). Those kind of fatigue are normal and are part of our everyday life, but what I want to talk about is something that in some cases can even be considered a disease. Well it sounds very serious, I don’t want to dramatize but just highlight that sometimes we are responsible for the wearing of our health. Chronic fatigue syndrome is different from temporary fatigue, the first symptom we can see is the lack of motivation, as a consequence every task seems unbearable. Overall we could experience a reduced mental capacity, lower levels of energy and constantly feeling sleepy.

The latter is exactly one of the main causes of the problem. We simply don’t sleep enough. In my opinion just by sleeping more or improving the quality of our sleep we would increase significantly our level of energy, but I’ll come back to that point later, first I want to summarize all the causes of our constantly feeling tired.

If we want to simplify we can divide them in 3 main categories:


  • Physical
  • Physiological
  • Mental – emotional

We can immagine those 3 categories as faces of a triangle. In this geometric figure each face is somewhat dependent from one another, so it’s our health. Our health is a balance between those 3 categories, if something is wrong the balance is disrupted. It is logical then to presume that the performances of our body are affected by any sort of dis-equilibrium.

But let’s try to go through each of those categories.

Physical

Here there is plenty of things that could be wrong so I will give you just an example. Posture!! Nowadays most of us have a sedentary life, where we have to sit on a desk for ours and as result 80% of the whole population experiences back pain throughout his life. We spend most of our energy trying to fight gravity and when we suffer fatigue our posture indicates we are losing this fight.

Physiological

Let’s start straight with an example: do you think your car would run faster if you fill the gas tank with gasoline or water? Good I think we are clear on that, now all you need to do is to apply the same thing to your diet, STOP EATING CRAP!! Nutrition is very important, that’s your source of energy and we need to have a diet rich in minerals, vitamins and with the right amount of carbohydrates and fats. But in this category there is another thing so important that I cannot skip, Sleep.

We all know that sleep is important, I am not saying anything new here but for some reason we all sleep less than 8 hours per night, or at least people who actually sleep 8 hours per night are really few. We all have reasons for sleeping less than that, it could be something to do with our lifestyle, parties, working late at night, or quality of our sleep (like back pain problems or a snoring partner). The good news is that we don’t need to stick to the 8 hours rule every day, our body is amazing and it’s able to catch up the due sleep but it’s very important that if we have a busy week we sleep more than 10 hours during the weekend. Don’t try to cheat on that because your brain doesn’t get fooled, if you don’t sleep enough you will spend the whole week feeling tired and with less energy. But why is sleeping so important? I have to be honest with you, I don’t know but nobody really knows, the only thing that is certain is that our brain needs its time to organize all our memories and in the process releases hormons that can have big effects on our health and on how rested we feel when we wake up. But there are habits that can prevent us from having a good night of sleep like for example smoking. Nicotine can have an excitant effect on our mind. Nicotine dissolves on fat so smoking on a regular basis creates a stockpile of nicotine in our tissues that is constantly leaking in our bloodstream. Of course each one of use react differently to it as in the case of caffeine (that is not only present in coffee but in the food you eat as well).

Something with a opposite effect to caffeine is alcohol, this is a depressant which means it lowers the activity of our brain thus it helps us falling asleep. I know what most of you might think, great let’s just drink more then!! Well surely you will increase you hours of sleep but because of its depressant activity our brain is not able to go through its normal sleep cycles, thus we will lose some of the benefits of sleeping.

What can we do then to feel better? Well excercise works pretty well. In fact if you have problems falling asleep excercise can provide you with temporary fatigue and help you enjoying more your sleep but also doing excercise we release in our bloodstream 2 kinds of hormons, adrenaline and endorphins. The latter are responsible for making you feel relaxed and happy.

A funny video that shows what are the consequences of stress

Mental – Emotional

Other factors that will affect your stability are to be found in the emotional sphere. Our feelings have a big impact on our energy and relatively on how hard is doing something for us. I understand often we don’t have control on the environment that surrounds us, we can be stressed from work, feeling depressed because of personal issues or just unhappy with the way things are. So let’s focus on what you have control on, the way you react to the environment. Your attitude will make a big difference here. Often we have to do something that we would gladly avoid but if we tell ourselves that it’s not a big deal our subconscious will help you getting it done more easily. I know it sounds weird but our mind is divided in different compartments, it’s not a single block. Your subconscious doesn’t have the ability to differentiate to what is real and what is not, it’s a more primordial region of our mind where there are our insticts and feelings. The subconscious is very powerful and if we learn to use it properly we can increase incredibly our level of energy. The easier way to do it it’s just to keep a positive attitude towards things and yes, talk to yourself, tell yourself that something is not a big deal. I did this before start writing this post. I wasn’t feeling like doing it before but I told myself that it won’t be a big deal and after I started now it’s hard to stop.

To conclude

I just want to remind you that our everyday life can be very tiring and competitive, if you want we can see it like a race. If you would have to do a F1 race the first thing you would do is to make sure your car works properly, fill the gas tank with the right fuel, make sure the tires are not flat and the engine is in good shape. Well do the same with yourself. I think we all know what’s best for us and how to keep ourself is good shape, we just don’t do it enough. We only remember about health when it’s too late and when we have a problem, if we can avoid in the first place it will make our lifes so much easier, it’s not a big deal, we can do it.

One of the best things you can do for your health is sport

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