The Dark Shadow Behind Mental Fatigue and Burnout

Are You Possessed by the Worry Vampire?
Being possessed by the worry vampire is no laughing matter. The worry vampire can suck the energy right out of you. In fact, after it's had its feeding frenzy, you may not have the energy to even get out of bed. The worry vampire is often the dark shadow that lurks behind mental fatigue and burnout.

‘What if?’ Hypnotism
The worry vampire's main weapon against you is – ‘What if?’ hypnotism. The wicked old vamp will dredge up all your fears, find the juicy ones and whisper them right in your ear...
What if I never get well?
What if it's something more serious?
What if people think I’m just lazy?
What if I end-up an invalid for the rest of my life???!!!

All this 'What if?' thinking can leave you feeling very overwhelmed and exhausted - a sure sign you've been hypnotised. Your body responds to this negative thinking as if the threat is real and the result is a serious build up of residual stress and tension in your body.

Signs of Possession
Stress causes a build-up of lactic acid and toxicity in your muscles, tissues and organs causing your immune system to weaken. Here are some of the possible symptoms:

• Headaches and migraines
• Brain fog
• Muscle fatigue
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome
• Candida
• Insomnia

The Dark Deep Shaft of Past and Future Pain
The old vamps clever ploy is to turn you negative by getting you to dwell on your fear of the future or emotional pain of the past. This sends you spinning down a dark deep shaft.

He's a clever little tyke, because getting you to remember and dwell on old hurt renews and strengthens your brain's synaptic pathways to those painful memories - keeping your old emotional wounds open and festering.

Getting you to focus on a future fear will fill you with anxiety and drain your energy. Over time you'll become highly sensitive emotionally, physically and mentally, which can lead to relationship and social interaction problems.

Tools to Ward off Possession
So you've learned that the worry vampire's main weapon is to get you to worry and dwell on past or future pain. But fortunately there's a gap between the past and future - do you see it???... that's right - it's the present moment.

Do you know why this very moment is called the present?... because it's a gift! The present moment is your sanctuary from the worry vampire. He simply can't reach you in the 'here and now'.

So, learning to move more and more into the moment of now, keeping your mind focused on the present (the gift), you'll soon be able to give that old vamp the slip.

Sarah - the Reluctant Vampire Slayer
When Sarah first contacted me, she was so possessed by her worry vampire that it wouldn't let her speak a word to me - not a sausage. Sarah was drowning in the fears her vamp was creating. She was even suspicious when I threw her the 'present moment' lifeline. She said…

"The present moment! - How can I be in the present moment, I have too much to worry about! It's reckless just to think of what's happening now. What about tomorrow? Next week? Next year???!!!"

Of course it was old worry guts moaning, not Sarah. But the penny eventually dropped and Sarah had a deep realisation. She realised that the past is just memory and the future is only our projected imagination - right now, the future is just a thought!

Sarah realised that moment-to-moment awareness is not reckless abandonment of yesterday or tomorrow, but a tool that can bring clarity and awareness to the decisions we make in each moment. These decisions can either hurt us or heal us.

The present moment is where life is happening. It's where our personal power lies and the only place we can effect change to create a brighter future. It's also the only place the worry vampire can't bother us.

Lock and Load that Silver Bullet!
You'll never guess what your most powerful weapon against old worry guts is. In fact, you won't believe me when I tell you, but it's guaranteed to shoot that deadbeat in the butt. What is it???... Your breath!

No, I'm not saying you've got bad breath - I'm saying that by simply bringing your attention to your breathing will blast that little tyke right out of your head. You don't believe me do you? Here's how it works...

Your breathing is always happening in the here and now - this very moment. Go on, feel your breath as it comes in and out - easy to focus on right? Well, because your breathing is always happening in the present moment, you can use it as an anchor - to keep your mind in the here and now.

So, simply put - if you're aware of your breath, your mind's attention is in the present moment - not in the past, not in the future - but here, right now. And that's your silver bullet!

The Vamp Bazooka - Your Silver Bullet Upgrade ;-)
If you just can't shake the pesky blighter - blast him to dust with the Vamp Bazooka! What's the Vamp Bazooka?... It's your poor short-term memory - huh? Let me explain...

You know how you can only do one thing at a time? - You go to the kitchen for some juice, but notice the cat's bowl is empty. So you feed the cat, but can't remember why you went to the kitchen in the first place - duh!

So, how can poor short-term memory be a weapon against old misery guts?... The very fact that you can only concentrate on one thing at a time causes everything else in your immediate active memory to get erased. So here's how to use that to your advantage...

When you've got a persistently sticky vamp, relax your stomach and focus on the gentle rising and falling motion of your abdomen. In your mind also repeat - 'Breathing in... Breathing out... Breathing in... Breathing out' - continue until you’ve centred yourself again. Yes, I'm suggesting you talk to yourself - but only you and I will know.

Because you're taking conscious control to focus on your 'breath' and using your ‘immediate active memory’ to name what your doing - 'Breathing in... Breathing out' - Bingo! - No more room in your active memory for that energy sucker - you've basted him to kingdom-come!

Worry Vampire Slaying in a Nutshell:

  • Worry causes body stress, anxiety and a build-up of toxicity. Toxicity weakens your immune system and drains your energy.
  • We can generally cope with what's happening in the present moment. It's when we allow our mind to add 'what if' scenarios we tend to become overwhelmed.
  • Right now, fears of the future are just projected thoughts - don't stress your body by buying into them.
  • The past is just memory - you can't change it. By not dwelling on painful memories, the synaptic pathways to those memories will deteriorate. In other words, the emotional wounds will heal if you don't pick at them.
  • Pain is part of life and it’s useful - it tells us when we've hurt ourselves. But suffering is what we add to the pain by thinking how awful it is, how life's not fair and other such thoughts. If there's nothing you can do in the moment to relieve it, then don't dwell on it.
  • Tibetans have a saying - "if you have the solution to a problem, there's no use worrying about it. If you don't have the solution to a problem, worrying about it won't help.”
  • Use the breath to keep your mind centred, calm and present. Practice while brushing your teeth or doing the dishes. Build your conscious breathing muscle daily.
  • Use conscious breathing at bedtime when your mind just won’t shut up.
  • Put 'breathe' labels on mirrors and other places around the house, car and anywhere else to remind yourself.

Most fatigue sufferers I've met share a common trait - you're all intelligent people with highly dynamic creative minds. You're usually working on some exciting project or thinking up creative solutions to difficult problems. In other words, you're usually mentally active and productive.

But the problem with having a fatigue disorder is that your mind's highly creative energy has no outlet. So the mind often turns its attention inward to dwell on the complexities of the illness. This negative focus is very energy draining and can lead to depression. So keep an eye on your focus and use the breath to come back to the present – remember it’s a gift.


(C) R. Amir Norris 2009

 

 
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