Michael Keogh   Mar 10, 2023   -   min read

As an exercise physiologist and health coach, all of the thousands of people I've worked with struggle to maintain their energy and motivation levels at some point in their health journey. While there are a variety of factors that can contribute to fatigue, one of the most overlooked is the impact of negative thinking.

Positive thinking is so important to get right, especially when you're exhausted! Read on below where I provide practical strategies to help you shift your mindset and boost your energy.

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The cost of exhaustion on your personal life

Exhaustion can take a heavy toll on every aspect of your life, from your physical health to your relationships and emotional wellbeing. When you're exhausted, you may struggle to keep up with your daily responsibilities and activities, leading to feelings of frustration, guilt, and even despair.

One of the most significant personal costs of exhaustion is the impact on your physical health. Chronic exhaustion can lead to weakened immune function, making you more susceptible to illness and disease. It can also lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and other health problems that can affect your quality of life.

Exhaustion can also have a significant emotional toll. It can cause feelings of anxiety, irritability, and depression, making it harder to enjoy life's simple pleasures. When you're exhausted, you may feel like you're not living up to your full potential, leading to feelings of dissatisfaction and low self-esteem.

Being exhausted can also affect your relationships, both personal and professional. You may struggle to find the energy to connect with loved ones and engage in meaningful activities together. The relationships with your colleagues may be strained, the quality of your work or your productivity may decrease, all potentially leading to missed opportunities and impacting company profits.

So don't minimise the cost of exhaustion, they're significant and far-reaching. And by cultivating a positive mindset, you can reduce the impact of exhaustion and live your best life!

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Why positive thinking matters

When you're feeling exhausted, it can be tempting to give into negative thoughts and emotions. Maybe you're feeling frustrated that you can't keep up with your to-do list, or anxious about how you're going to manage everything that's on your plate. Perhaps you're feeling discouraged about your progress towards your goals, or overwhelmed by the challenges you're facing.

The problem with negative thinking is that it tends to snowball. When you focus on your shortcomings and setbacks, it can be easy to slip into a downward spiral of self-doubt and despair. This makes it even harder to summon the energy and motivation you need to get things done.

On the other hand, when you approach your challenges with a positive mindset, you are more likely to stay motivated and energised. Plenty of studies have shown that optimism is associated with a wide range of health benefits, including better heart health, stronger immune function, and improved mental health.

Plus, when you believe that you can succeed, even in the face of obstacles, you're more likely to take proactive steps to achieve your goals. This can help you break out of the cycle of fatigue and negativity and start making progress towards the things that matter most to you.

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Strategies for cultivating a positive mindset

Here are some strategies that are proven to help you cultivate a more positive mindset, even when you're feeling exhausted and overwhelmed:

Practice gratitude

One of the simplest ways to shift your mindset is to focus on the things that you're grateful for. When you take time to acknowledge the good things in your life, you are less likely to dwell on the negatives.

Try starting a gratitude journal where you write down three things you're grateful for each day. You could also make it a habit to express gratitude to the people in your life who have made a positive impact on you.

Reframe negative thoughts

When you catch yourself having negative thoughts, try to reframe them in a more positive light. For example, instead of thinking "I'm never going to get everything done," try thinking "I'm doing the best I can, and that's enough." This can help you feel more empowered and less overwhelmed.

Focus on solutions

Rather than getting bogged down in the problems you're facing, focus on finding solutions. Brainstorm ways to overcome obstacles, and break down your goals into smaller, more manageable tasks.

Take care of yourself

It's hard to maintain a positive mindset when you're feeling run down and depleted. Make sure you're taking care of your physical needs by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise.

Surround yourself with positive influences

The people you surround yourself with can have a big impact on your mindset. Make an effort to spend time with people who are positive, supportive, and encouraging. Seek out mentors or coaches who can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.

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The importance of the right care team

When it comes to recovering from exhaustion, having the right care team can make all the difference. A care team can provide you with the support, resources, and expertise you need to overcome the challenges of recovery and achieve your goals.

Your care team may include a variety of healthcare professionals, such as your doctor, specialist, physiotherapist, exercise physiologist, dietitian, and wellness coach. Each member of your care team brings unique skills and perspectives to the table, allowing them to create a holistic approach to your recovery.

  • Doctors and Specialists play a key role in diagnosing any medical conditions and creating a treatment plan that's tailored to your specific needs.
  • Physiotherapists support you in the early stages of an injury through manual therapy.
  • Exercise physiologists helps you improve your physical function and reduce pain through exercise programs and lifestyle change.
  • Dietitians can help you improve your nutrition and manage any related health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Wellness coaches can provide support and guidance as you work towards your recovery goals, helping you to stay motivated and overcome any obstacles you may face.

Having a care team that works together and communicates effectively is crucial for a successful wellbeing infused life. Your care team should be able to collaborate and adjust your treatment plan as needed, ensuring that you're making progress and staying on track towards your recovery goals.

If you're struggling with exhaustion, consider reaching out to your health care team, or start building your care team today!


What happens next is up to you..

So remember, positive thinking is essential when you're exhausted. By cultivating a more positive mindset, you can break out of the cycle of fatigue and negativity and start making progress towards your goals. Make sure you – practice gratitude, reframe negative thoughts, focus on solutions, take care of yourself, and surround yourself with positive influences. With these strategies in place, you'll be well on your way to a more energised and fulfilling life.

Ong BA, Hooper GJ, O'Sullivan PB. "Positive attitude predicts outcome after total knee arthroplasty for osteoarthritis". The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2019;14(2):161-168. 
Mansfield KE, Sim J, Jordan JL, Jordan KP, "A systematic review and meta-analysis of the prevalence of chronic widespread pain in the general population", Pain, 2016;157(1):55-64.
Kornhaber R, Walsh K, Duff J, "Experience of chronic pain: The role of positive psychology", The Journal of Pain Research. 2018;11:2363-2372.

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About the Author

Michael Keogh is an Exercise Physiologist and Health Coach with 8 years experience in clinical and corporate settings. He is also the co-author of upcoming book “Thrive: How to 10X your Health, Wealth and Happiness”.

He uses exercise as medicine to treat chronic disease and ensure healthy ageing, whilst guiding his clients towards sustainable health behaviours that result in improved performance and greater satisfaction in work and life.

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