It’s a known fact that everyone can feel restless from time to time. However, among individuals who are chronically anxious or depressed, there’s a persistent feeling of anger or irritability much of the time.
This is mostly known as living in a state of constant restlessness. When you’re always restless, you find that you’re unproductive, generally uncomfortable, and usually distressed. It gets in the way of you getting things done and achieving your goals.
What’s more, restlessness can be rooted in your fight-or-flight response getting triggered. This response is a powerful survival tool that has typically helped humans flee from or escape dangerous situations.
What does it look like when you’re restless?
We’ve seen this plenty of times in the mirror and in our own homes during the pandemic. People are in lockdown, travel and normal activities are restricted, and there is that feeling of uncertainty and void, much like being unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This sounds more like despair, but restlessness can definitely worsen and turn into full-blown dissatisfaction and lack of optimism for the future.
Restlessness is something that affects not only you but also your relationship with others. Here are some ways to deal with this feeling:
- Meditate – Time and again, we’ve promoted the benefits of practicing meditation. For one, it regulates the body’s stress response and teaches you to live in the moment. This way you can separate yourself from the feeling of restlessness and return to your normal routine. Do it alone or with a few family members, in the morning upon waking up or before you go to bed.
- Breathe, breathe, breathe – Breathing exercises, or taking a few deep breaths when you’re restless, can restore a sense of balance in your body and mind. It compels you to take in more oxygen, activating your parasympathetic nervous system. Do deep breathing for at least 10 minutes a day and build it up to 30 minutes every day.
- Get social support – Talk with your family, friends, and colleagues, so you can avoid bottling up your emotions. Deal with issues right away so you are not allocating too much thought and emotion into them and getting unnecessary stress.
- Be there for yourself – This might seem rather simple, but there’s great power in looking after your own needs. Cry if you need to, if it can help you feel better and if it can ease your pressure and tension. Be aware of changes in your mood and thoughts – many even exercise or take high-quality nootropics as they become conscious of what they’re feeling and seek to make a positive change. Eat a balanced diet, get plenty of sleep, and take time for yourself every day, going somewhere you can be quiet and just relax.
- Create a new path – It’s also possible that your restlessness is more than just a stress response or your survival instinct gone wrong. It can also signal a change that you need to do in your life. You may be restless because you’ve outgrown your job or have delayed your pursuit of an important personal goal. If this is the case, let your feelings guide you into a new career path or a new phase in life. Take that leap when you’re ready. The first key is to recognize that something might need to be changed – then see how it can make a difference.
Don’t be ashamed by the restless feelings you’ve been having. It’s a tough time for almost everyone and with the right strategy to make a change for the better, you’ll enhance not just your thought processes but also your quality of life as a whole.