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Exhausting Thinking

Exhausting Thinking

As the the lockdown runs on, lots of people have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings – from sadness and anger to tiredness and feeling groggy.

As every storm runs out of rain, so every dark night turns into day. But the problem is that we are primed to see the negative first. So whilst we see the vaccine on the horizon we are torn between two lovers: our potential saviour the Big V and the negative voice in our head-telling us to be afraid.

As humans, we have at least 50,000 thoughts every day, which means we have a new thought approximately every 1.2 seconds. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts. Many of us are finding isolation uncomfortable or downright scary. Many of us find our own thoughts uncomfortable or downright scary

I recently read a scientific study that offered 200 people a choice between giving themselves electric shocks or being alone with their thoughts for 15 minutes.

Believe it or not, over 100 chose the electric shocks.

A letter from John:

l have reached a point where my anxiety is ruining my life. I was normally a very positive person as l don’t believe in thinking otherwise. The voices in my head, which I used to think were just passing through, seem to have taken up residence in this third lockdown.

I just feel so flat and so very tired. It’s not lack of sleep particularly, it’s just mental exhaustion. It’s from juggling housework, work, schoolwork, wanting to ensure I make the most of time with my two kids and giving them the mental support they need, and supporting my wife who is a key worker.

And then I have my own internal dialogue. So many thoughts crammed into my head. The incessant chatter inside my brain. That Voice .

The Voice isn’t a voice of reason. It’s irrational, illogical, and it continually switches sides. It makes unhelpful observations, it points out my flaws, it says things that I would never say out loud, it’s rude and offensive, it manufactures fears and worries.

It tells me that l’m not got enough. That l’m not a good person.

Sometimes, it can build me up so that I feel on top of the world before turning on me in a heartbeat.

It’s inconsistent. And it’s exhausting…

Anxiety, depression and stress are exhausting by their nature. Anxiety feeds on uncertainty and this is rife now.

Anxiety has a huge impact on body and mind – on your ability to concentrate, you motivation and energy levels, and most importantly, their sleep.

The impact of anxiety on tiredness is a cycle where worrying can cause poor sleep. This causes tiredness, which depletes our psychological resources and increases anxiety, which disrupts our sleep and ability to cope even further. You can see how it is exhausting.

Most people don’t realise that the mind constantly chatters and there is some quick advice I would give today.

We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live, they travel far. Change your thoughts and you change your world.

Norman Vincent Peale

THE MENTAL FILTER – 3 things that will help fight with anxiety:

  1. See your anxious thoughts as guesses, not as facts.
  2. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation. Think of your thoughts as clouds floating by. Think of your thoughts as moving data passing through your mind, rather than the absolute truth about a situation.
  3. Live in the now. The past is a place of reference not residency.



I can take you to success. I coach ordinary people every day to do extra-ordinary things. I coach extra-ordinary people to do extra-ordinary things. The difference is those who have a dream, and are prepared to follow said dream, are extraordinary, and just need a structure and support system to kick off that journey, which will finish with them sliding in fast sideways to the grave, totally worn out from the relentless living of their dreams, screaming out loudly “Wow holy sh*t, what a ride!”

If that is you – start today! If you are looking for coaching on change for yourself or your organisation, or would like more information on the work we do on Personal, Professional, or Organisational Change, please contact us on

About Dr Maurice Duffy

Irish. Author, Professor, Coach and Business strategist. The person Australian Captain Steve Smith credited with helping him back from his cricket ban. Coach to two Ashes wins. Coach to CEOs, Politicians and some of the best know international sports starts including Olympians. BBC ‘Thought for the Week’. Coached business leaders and organizations in 80 countries. Works with charities to do with Mental Health. Lives in North East England with his wife and 11-year-old son.