Are you feeling constantly tired and drained? In today’s fast-paced world, exhaustion has become a common experience for many of us. From students to professionals, a pervasive sense of fatigue seems to plague society. But what’s really causing this widespread weariness?

In a recent Forbes article, Dr. Kyra Bobinet reveals not only the crux of this widespread phenomenon but the solution as well.

The Cause—the habenula

In the article, Dr. Bobinet sheds light on a tiny but powerful region in your brain called the habenula. Acting as a “failure detector” and a motivation kill switch, the habenula kicks in whenever we perceive failure or disappointment. This activation suppresses our intrinsic motivation circuits, leaving us feeling depleted and lacking energy.

What Can Trigger the Habenula?

Social Media

Social Media is a drain on your brain and has a direct impact on your energy levels. Late-night scrolling through social feeds can flood your brain with anxiety, FOMO, and unrealistic standards, triggering your habenula and disrupting your sleep patterns. The result? Waking up feeling unrefreshed and unmotivated, setting the tone for a day with an energy deficit.

Constant Performance Pressure

The pressure to constantly perform drains your energy reserves. In today’s digital age, we’re always accessible and “on,” leaving little room for true rest and recovery. Authentic self-expression takes a backseat to meeting others’ expectations, creating an exhausting cycle that leaves us feeling drained.

Pandemic Losses and Chronic Stress

The ambiguous losses and chronic stress brought on by the pandemic have compounded the issue of exhaustion. With shattered social norms and increased health concerns, many are grappling with grief and heightened stress levels, further depleting our energy.

Reclaiming Vitality

Knowing what is causing our fatigue is only half the battle. In the article, Dr. Bobinet also offers practical steps to break free from fatigue and restore vitality:

  • Step 1: Set Technology Boundaries: Start by setting firm boundaries with technology, especially before bedtime. Avoid triggering your habenula with negative social media content, comparisons, or disappointments. Instead, focus on uplifting content like gratitude or affirmations to pave the way for restorative sleep.
  • Step 2: Carve Out Daily “Hideaways”: Prioritize moments of solitude and self-care throughout your day. Create “hideaways” where you can retreat from the chaos and recharge, even if only for a few minutes. Self-reflection and self-care are essential for maintaining energy levels.
  • Step 3: Embrace Embodied Reality Resets: Connect with nature and real-world relationships to counteract virtual world burnout. Grounding yourself in physical reality and meaningful connections provides a much-needed energetic reset.
  • Step 4: Cultivate an Iterative Mindset: Approach positive lifestyle changes with an iterative mindset. Instead of striving for perfection, view each attempt as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Focus on progress rather than outcomes to build resilience and stay motivated.

Waking Up Our World

With intention and practice, you can reclaim your energy from the clutches of the habenula. By understanding the biological forces driving exhaustion, you can consciously craft a lifestyle that supports your well-being and models sustainability for the collective.

Take the first step towards reclaiming your energy and waking up your world. Dive deeper into these insights and learn how to revitalize your energy by reading the full Forbes article here.