Restlessness: Pit of anxiety and boredom or source of aliveness?
Restlessness is per definition “the inability to rest or relax as a result of anxiety or boredom”. How often do you get this sensation? You do not have to be the anxious type to feel it. Actually, you can be overly excited about something until you start having this itchy feeling you cannot get rid of. Or it may happen that you get bored, and this itchiness grows more intense every day.
Applying it to your current reality, you start the new year motivated and enthusiastic about the endless possibilities. You foresee 12 months as a suitable time frame to develop yourself and reach your goals. Even if still working on getting clarity, you believe in your ability to turn your dreams into reality through discipline and perseverance.
Looking back at the past months – maybe years – you remember how hard you have been working on your personal growth, strengthening your core values, improving your skills, letting go of useless self-limiting beliefs, rising your performance to top level. You are feeling restless for now is the time to move to the next chapter.
It could also be that reading these words is making you feel down and disconnected. Perhaps personal development has not been your priority in the last decades and you feel left behind. You can’t help but feeling that this restlessness is the reason you are stuck, keeping you chained to fear and anxiety.
Today I would like to challenge this definition within the realm of personal development. How come restlessness must be seen through a negative lens? If there were a way to use it in your favor, would you consider it? Picture a world where feeling restless is a source of inner power to propel you toward your goals, to make you strive and grow stronger.
Let us focus on 5 strategies to encourage you to turn your restlessness into a source of aliveness.
1. Feel purpose: How am I supposed to feel purpose if I haven’t found it yet? – this and other similar thoughts may well be crossing your mind. And I don’t blame you! Somewhere along the way, we convinced ourselves that purpose is a scary word with heavy implications, until it becomes a burden we want desperately to get rid of. What is the opposite of feeling purpose though? I’d say something like a sense of emptiness or voidness. Unless you are deeply depressed (and if so, you can always reach out for help!), these feelings are not common. It is in our human nature to fight for survival, to pursuit aliveness. Pause and start small. Think of moments of your day or week where you enjoyed yourself, something that makes you feel connected and alive – not necessarily related to your current job or career. Invite that purpose, that aliveness to your life as often as possible.
2. Take action: No matter how small it may seem, take action. Without taking action you are not moving forward. We are not talking about a random act, rather a movement in alignment with the goals you have defined and with the vision you have for this year. Despite being the clearest picture you had so far or still blurred and fuzzy, making small commitments helps moving the needle. Step by step, you try, you implement, you do it. May not be the perfect timing or how you expected it to be, but you are taking action now toward your future. By doing so, you are also investing energy into something worthy of your time and dedication. Almost as if you were giving wings to that restlessness sensation, allowing it to spread and bear fruit before you notice.
3. Focus on the now: When you are feeling restless how is it possible to focus on the present moment? There is this push from within to do something, whatever that may be. An impulse to act as mentioned in the previous point. These are not opposites, you see. You can still move forward and enjoy the now. Living in the now – without letting sight of the future – gives you the energy and focus to think ahead and plan while enjoying every curve of your journey. In other words, the energy you are receiving from being in the now is then channeled to your upcoming steps in a much straighter flow. The same can be achieved in a multitude of ways, including through setting daily intentions, remaining conscious of any thoughts that may drift your focus away and focusing on your breath and body, slowing down and avoiding multitasking. And remember, honor the present with your presence!
4. Find joy: Throughout the quest for meaning, achievement, success, we often forget about joy. It seems so much easier to clutch to the stress and discomfort, ours as well as others, even when it means ultimately more pain and less pleasure. The thing about joy is that it is everywhere. Though you must choose to look closely. You must keep your eyes, mind, and heart wide open both from inside and outside. It may be that warm shower first thing in the morning, eating breakfast in family, a walk alone during your lunch break, listening to your favorite podcast or reading a few pages of a good book. Regardless of how tough your day gets, there is always something to be joyful about. When you experience joy, a kind of balance takes place. In other words, you are filling your cup with positivenergy while transforming restlessness into aliveness.
5. Show gratitude: Gratitude is one of our biggest and selfless gifts to ourselves as well as to others. Curious how often we forget this superpower, one that goes a long way when put into practice. I am talking about being grateful to yourself as much as to others. Instead, we choose resentment and envy which only generates toxicity. So, let us do our best to change that and practice gratitude every day. When you recognize what you are grateful for, you are opening your heart to the goodness and the greatness, to peace and beauty. Do it through your thoughts, your words, your actions. Remind yourself of the simplest things, those you usually take for granted, those whose existence may have slipped your mind lately. By showing gratitude you are giving a whole new course to this restlessness sensation we have been talking about, one of acknowledgement and kindness.
Regardless of you feeling more or less restlessness after reading these words, key is that they have widened your sight as well as your range of alternatives. Do not let a feeling – whatever its negative connotation – determine the course of your next chapter(s). If anything, use it in your favor by channeling it in the direction of your goals and live an extraordinary life – the one you envision and deserve.