When our minds are ‘running on empty,’ we set ourselves up to be emotionally vulnerable.

As we drive a car, we pay attention to how much gas is being used so we know when to refill. Similarly, the more physical energy we exert, as exercise, running errands or playing with children etc., the increasingly tired or sore we begin to feel.  As a result, we need to rest, nourish or get extra sleep to help our bodies restore. Often we don’t realize how our minds also are impacted by the daily energy (“running”) we exert in the form of choices and stressors.

Understanding how we use up our cognitive energy throughout the day can help us notice when we begin to run on empty. Some symptoms of mentally running on empty are:

  1. Increased irritability

2. Heightened emotional states

3. Decision fatigue

4. Feeling unable to control or regulate emotions

5. Increase in negative behavior: increase in eating, smoking, drinking, arguing etc.

So how do you refill the well? Just as we physically may need to rest, heal and recover, mentally we need to do the same. Some ways we can begin to refill our cognitive resources and restore mental wellbeing is by:

  1. Taking time to focus on your breath.

2. Meditation

3. Take some time to go outdoors (surrounded by nature)

4. Yoga

5. Calming music (ie: classical or soothing melody recordings)

6. Talk therapy

These tools can be as simple and brief or expansive as you need throughout your day. It may be as simple as eating your lunch outside throughout the week or stopping throughout your day to take a deep breath. Notice the next time you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed; perhaps you are running on empty.

If you are concerned you may be running on empty, please contact the Intake Department at Specialized Therapy Associates at 201.488.6678 for more information on our individual and group services.