Our brains are marvels of engineering. Each individual brain cell is connected to about 100,000 others, making them a highly interconnected network. Signals are sent between them regularly, all of which requires energy, namely glucose, which is generated by the food we consume. So, what is the science behind mental exhaustion and fatigue?
When the brain works hard as in when a person is thinking hard, more energy is used up by brain cells. However, efficient as ever, if a task is done repetitively, the brain will form shortcuts inside it so that it takes less energy to carry out the same job. Think of it as a complex micro-computer that can function through machine learning. However, our brain is not wired to deal with our intense environments where large quantities of information have to be dealt with and processed quickly. As a result, such a situation can tire the brain out, causing mental exhaustion. If this carries on for an extended period, it can lead to burnout.
Hence, how can mental burnout be avoided? It is essential to be kind to one’s brain, and the first step is knowing that the brain has limits and cannot be pushed forever. Being stressed occasionally is normal, but constant stressful situations can have severe physical and mental consequences. According to clinical psychologists, it is advisable to have a stress management routine and live a healthy lifestyle, which can both contribute to better care of one’s brain.