Avoid spending mental energy, as if would be limitless

Know if you unwisely exhausted your mental energy supply for the day.

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Feeling stressed? Do you freak out about small things?
You exhausted your supply of mental energy!

Read on to learn what mental energy is and why a lack of it is dangerous for you.

The concept of mental energy

Mental energy describes the concept that you have a limited energy reserve.
Any thought requiring a lot of self-control draws on this energy.
In the theory of the two minds, the intuitive and the rational mind, this is the energy that the rational mind consumes. Sometimes this energy is also associated with motivation or the drive to do something demanding.

  • When I mention a big white bear sitting next to you and smiling his toothy smile at you, try not to imagine this bear.
  • Remember the last emotional film you watched, and you wanted not to be seen crying or having wet eyes?
  • You should have studied for an exam in two days and were invited to a massive party.
  • Remember your first job when you wanted to impress and not disappoint your new boss.
  • When you try to be a better self. When you ignore other people’s bad behavior and instead react kindly and empathic to their problems, especially if it is one of your loved ones.

All these moments certainly drain your mental energy, and sometimes you may react in a way you regret later on.

Why mental depletion is dangerous

Just facing these situations is not a sign that you are depleted. In fact, mastering these situations can be seen as a sign of mental strength. If you have never faced such a situation, congratulations, you are a better human being than I am.

There are clear signs that you are mentally depleted and lost your motivation.

  • You abandon your diet plans and tell yourself this chocolate bar is the last for this week.
  • It is ok to buy this pair of shoes, the new SmartWatch. You have earned it after this stressful week.
  • Your workplace’s arch-enemy attacked you again today, but this time you beat back and insulted him in front of everybody else.
  • At the gym, you tell yourself that today is not the day to go hard on yourself.
  • Math never was your thing. We all get older, and there is certainly an easier way to solve complex problems than trying mental acrobatics.

In summary, it is dangerous to be mentally spent as you give in to your intuition and desires.

And that often means you will make mistakes you regret further down the road.

Sometimes intuition can be good. The problem is those wrong judgments are difficult to detect. Confidence in your decision is not a good diagnosis.

“Judgments that answer the wrong question can also be made with high confidence.” ,Kahneman

How to build up mental energy

Now we know what mental depletion is. Solutions exist to refill and enlarge our reservoir of energy.

Some Tips that I found:

  • Increase your mood by watching comedy. Cat pictures help.
  • Focus on the big picture allows you to overcome short-term lows.
  • Repeat your values to yourself to collect strength.
  • Take a break by pursuing activities you like.
  • Sleep.
  • Deep Breathing and Meditation.

How not to drain other people’s energy

It is not only our energy that is important but also the energy of our fellow human beings. Spending time with unmotivated and depleted people is less fun and, in turn, decreases your motivation.

In return, it is also essential not to drain too much energy in your communication.
If your listeners experience cognitive stress, they spend more energy.

If you present a complex fact, you can help the audience to understand the truth. Use appropriate diagrams and highlight parts by stressing points on slides.

A mentally spent audience requires far more assistance to understand a complex topic.
Do not use any complex language, complex names, etc. Quotes from difficult and unknown names are less easy to remember. Verses and figurative language make things more memorable. And easy to remember means often that it is true.

Use any tricks described in “how to be liked” to appear more familiar to your audience. Talk in their language.