Have you noticed that some days it just seems to be such an effort to walk, to get up out of the chair, to even think about doing something? Often, those days seem to come when we are stressed and just feel exhausted. Maybe we even slept through the night and think we should feel rested and energized, but we just feel like we are heavy and carrying a huge weight everywhere we go. But why do we feel like everything takes so much effort?
First, let's define what makes a sense of effort. Deane Juhan says the sense of effort is "provided by the muscle spindles and the tendon organs...This "sense of effort" constitutes an additional special sense, with as complicated apparatus and as rich and constant an input as those of smell, taste, sight, hearing, or touch."
When we move our body, we perceive the movement the same as moving any other object. We determine the amount of effort to move an object or our body and expend the right amount of effort necessary to do what is necessary and we learn what effort is necessary through repetition and experience. The amount of weight and resistance to our effort to move an object is dependent on the amount of tension placed on our muscles and tendons. When our muscles and tendons already have tension on them, the effort required to move an object, even our own bodies, will be increased. When our muscles are pulled taut from tension or injury, we must exert more effort to accomplish the same movement. When our back and neck muscles tighten due to stress, it really is as if we are carrying the "weight of the world" on our shoulders. While our back and neck muscles may not actually be doing work--there may be no movement-- when we are stressed and worried, they are pulling harder, raising their metabolism, creating more waste and more fatigue, than when we are relaxed. It really does become an effort to add to the workload the muscles are bearing.
Once the work of maintaining the strong tone in the muscles ends, the muscles will relax and the body will no longer feel so heavy.
Stress and worry make us tired because they make our movements seem heavier and harder--because they are.