Is Mental exhaustion worse than physical?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by jeff kushner, May 15, 2019 at 7:47 AM.

  1. jeff kushner

    jeff kushner Full Access Members

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    Nov 30, 2014
    I've often heard this is true. Like many here who went from a labor intensive job to a more cerebral craft, I've found it also to be true to a point.

    I've spent the past couple of months, when not dropping off or picking up my truck from the truck hospital, in pretty complicated negotiations for a several notable projects. One for a "software" manufacturers who has material in every computer world-wide, two others I can't discuss and the 3rd being HQ2 for Amazon in Va(yes, we got that, BAM!).

    I do numbers for a living. My 8th grade Algebra teacher would have gotten a kick out of this fact but it just worked out this way. Anyway, the folks I deal with at these negotiations typically are also "numbers guys" who are technically proficient but they usually bring a couple of "accounting types" who don't know crap about anything other than the numbers. After many straight hours, the accounting guys crumble first. The signs are universal....they didn't eat prior to the mtg so they get hungry, then tired, then impatient. This is what I wait for sometimes if I need to...because when people become impatient, they WILL agree to things they otherwise would not.

    The point is....after this kind of a day, even if successful.. yeah I normally sleep well and I'm completely drained.....but I also have noticed that when I'm physically exhausted from actual work, my mind unwinds so much easier, I'm more peaceful and relaxed mentally.

    So is mental exhaustion worse? I think so but not because it's "harder" but because it's harder to relax afterwards making it possibly worse for you overall.

    I'm curious to other peoples take on this?

  2. MrSticker

    MrSticker Full Access Members

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    May 4, 2016
    Penfield, New York
    Depends on how your brain wires itself (over your life) and the nature of the mental exercise. If its stressful and "worrying" your brain wont let it go - even when asleep, whether you are aware of it it or not. If you have years of experience in a particular mode of operation , your brain will adapt to that and it will be normal. At my age the physical exhaustion is worse because I'm in pain and can't move, can hardly stand up or walk. With the mental exhaustion all I need is a 10 minute power nap and my brain reboots and it fine. I find when I'm driving, after the first 3 hours my head starts to pound and I have to stop and rest (that's how I first got an Expy so I could lay down in the back).

    On a different track … For 18 years I did patent infringement cases at Xerox. It was mental exercise all day long and certain parts of my brain grew stronger as they were used. The ability to detect patterns for example. I used to have to go out to the parking lot and fall asleep in my Expy during the day when my brain began to pound from too much concentration. At night I might drink a beer or two to escape from all that intense thought all day long. Now that I'm retired … I think my brain is softening, getting weaker since I don't exercise it as much. So I seek out mental challenges and puzzles to keep those brain pathways going. I also have less use for alcohol since less stress from dealing with all those dang lawyers. I think in retirement you have to keep both your brain and your physical body active or it goes downhill faster than need be. But you have the time to do that on whatever activity or subject you find interesting and productive.
    Last edited: May 15, 2019 at 8:19 AM
  3. 1955moose

    1955moose Full Access Members

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    Nov 23, 2014
    Worry and stress is definitely tougher than physical exaustion . Especially if you've got things like money worries, one of the worst, or an illness, either yours, or a loved ones. With physical exaustion, you sleep almost immediately, but mental keeps your mind racing all night long. When I go to my gym, and really have a good sweaty workout, I barely make it through dinner, and sleep even through the garbage trucks on Wednesday.

    Sent from my N9131 using Tapatalk
  4. powerboatr

    powerboatr Full Access Members

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    May 16, 2016
    North East Texas
    mental games imo is tougher than anything.
    balancing i high level of thoughts and WHAT IFS will wear you out.
    when i was on my last was on 24/7 and always concerned about the crew, my techs and the aircraft...i would have rather ran 15 miles up hill both ways.
    left at 219 lbs came home after 6 months at just under 190....yes i ate.
    it was intense, but we all came home safe and sound.
  5. ManUpOrShutUp

    ManUpOrShutUp Full Access Members

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    Mar 27, 2016
    The question seems rhetorical to me, but my wife would probably argue the other way. She abhors any type of strenuous physical activity; you'd swear she was being waterboarded.
    Eagle 71, powerboatr and jeff kushner like this.

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