Become Aware Of Your Restless Ways

Tell me honestly, how aware are you of your restless tendencies? And do you find restlessness a pleasant or unpleasant sensation?

To some, the mind is a completely unknown territory, which makes it tough to answer these questions.

In this post we'll explore all of the above and what happens when you embrace restlessness with plain and simple awareness...

What Is Restlessness?

Restlessness flows like a nervous undercurrent in the depths of the mind. I experience it as a subtle yet unpleasant movement in the lower abdomen, that makes me feel unsettled and out of balance.

But what is it? And how does it manifest itself?

Restlessness is a form of stress, or the other way around, stress is a form of restlessness. Remember that these are just words.

Here is another way of looking at restlessness. Being caught up in thinking leads to worry; restlessness is just that - unsettled worry.

Can you be happy and worried at the same time?

No, so stress, worry and restlessness are unpleasant mental states not unlike anguish and depression. Take a moment to think about it.

Here are some examples of restless behavior:

- Tapping the foot

- Tapping the fingers

- Looking around

- Checking the time

- Playing with the mobile phone

- Aimless thinking

- Worrying

- Boredom

Do you recognize yourself?

Curiosity also makes for restlessness. For example, if you're following a sporting event or live news, you really want to know the final score or how the news story will end.

By projecting our thoughts into the future, we build up stress and restlessness. We want to know about the next moment, and the moment after that and it goes on and on.

You simply cannot satisfy the mind's craving for more...

The Power Of Awareness

Awareness makes us aware of feelings and thoughts that normally would pass by unnoticed. Plain and simple awareness also prevents restlessness to take root in the mind.

Whenever you become aware of restlessness, give relaxed attention to your feelings and thoughts. Then, try your best to accept the unpleasant sensations as they are, instead of habitually rejecting them. That way, you won't be taken over by frustration.

Relax your body and don't try too hard. You can stay with the feelings and thoughts for as long as you like.

For anyone who is interested in developing awareness, I strongly recommend guided meditation. Here you can download three of my guided meditations free of charge. It's easy and fun to learn.

So, how does deep stillness feel?

I experience stillness as a subtle yet soothing mental state. Its perfect balance makes me feel settled and at ease. Freedom from restlessness and stress is a beautiful mental state.

Also observe others who are restless or under stress, in order to better understand the workings of restlessness.

Having to sit still and face the unpleasant feelings and thoughts, is like torture to a restless mind. Not unlike having ants all over your body. So, many of us try to escape unpleasant sensations by keeping busy, overeating, indulging in sex, drugs, alcohol, smoking, sleeping or listening to loud music.

Supporting A Restless Friend

It's pointless to tell a restless or stressed out person to slow down, since his ego is likely to take it as a threat. Then, he would only deny that he's under stress or get upset.

Rather, bring it up when he is relaxed and in a good mood. That way he will be more open to talk about his situation.

If you want to help someone who is under a lot of pressure, it's a good idea to remove her from her everyday environment. Go out in nature where both of you can get some fresh air, exercise and soak in the stillness of nature.

Remember that a restless mind has a certain momentum. So, don't expect anyone to completely change after just a couple of hours in a park.

Best of luck!

Related:   Stress Management   Cultivating Patience   Preventing Stress

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