Restlessness, or agitation, is one of the outward manifestations of anxiety. If you’re unable to sit still or if you feel as though you’re on the edge because something dire or momentous is about to happen, then you are feeling restless. Many symptoms of anxiety are caused by issues that are hard to explain. But with restlessness, the cause is obvious: a steady rush of adrenaline as a result of our innate fight or flight response.
The feeling usually goes away on its own. But agitation needs to be controlled if it heralds a panic attack. The feeling of being on edge puts your body on high alert, which causes anxiety to heighten. Here are some strategies that can help in keeping your restlessness down:
Don’t Fight it
Just learn to accept that you are going to feel restless because of your anxiety. You will end up feeling more stressed if you fight it. Wishing it to go away will not happen, and blaming yourself for feeling this way will not help either. Just accept that you can’t choose when your anxiety is going to happen.
Work off that Energy
Adrenaline is surging through your system because your body thinks something that you fear is about to happen. You’re bound to feeling agitated if the adrenaline is just sitting there and not being used. Get a move on! Run, walk, do something physical to relieve all that excess energy.
Meditation is very effective in relieving stress and controlling breathing. It has been scientifically proven that practicing meditation or adopting a meditative lifestyle can help in managing/controlling anxiety. Remember, meditation is not an elixir for your anxiety. Rather, it helps you to focus on the here and now and calms your overactive mind. Feeling your anxiety melt away is just a pleasant side effect of meditation.
A simple meditation practice you can try is focusing on your breathing. Pay attention on inhaling and exhaling. When random thoughts enter your mind, try to redirect your focus back to your breathing. Using your breath as a focal point means you are paying attention on the moment instead of the noise in your mind.
If you feel the need to yell or you’re going to burst – give in and yell. Sometimes it calms the restlessness of both your body and your mind. If you’re alone, there’s nobody to hear it, shout as loud as you can. Some of the surplus energy in your mind can find an outlet in yelling.
Finding something to laugh about can help control your restlessness. It’s difficult to laugh when you’re feeling agitated, but if you can find something in yourself that makes you laugh, do it. Laughing, like yelling, releases some of the pent up energy inside your body and puts your mind on a more positive footing.
Learning to manage your restlessness is important. But it is also important to address the source of the anxiety that causes the restlessness. This is the only way that you can successfully and effectively control your restlessness experience.