FEELING restless? Or just can’t seem to sit still and focus?
Perhaps you’ve noticed that one of your legs is constantly bouncing up and down, or maybe you keep dropping things or simply cannot get comfortable.
There’s a whole host of potential reasons as to why you’re struggling to sit still; it could be job stress, a nutrient deficiency or even depression.
If you find yourself unable to stop fidgeting, it might be down to one of these…
1. It could be ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is split into two subtypes, according to Dr Marianne Trent, Clinical Psychologist and founder of Good Thinking Psychological Services.
“The first typifies people who struggle to plan, organise and initiate activity with the second tending to struggle to curb impulsive or hyperactive behaviour.
“It’s possible to experience symptoms of either or both subtypes but not meet the criteria for full diagnosis,” she says.
Therefore, there could be many people struggling with features of hyperactivity and impulsivity, yet they might be unaware why this affects them.
Dr Trent adds that people with ADHD might sit in more constrained positions with crossed or folded legs and arms and may fidget or spin on a chair.
“Due to fidgeting they may also drop pens more often too,” she says.
Although ADHD is more commonly diagnosed in childhood, it’s becoming more common for diagnosis to happen in adulthood.
“If you think you may experience symptoms of ADHD then discuss this with your GP who may consider whether a referral to an adult ADHD service might be warranted,” says Dr Trent.
2. You might be suffering from anxiety
In the UK, over eight million people are suffering from an anxiety disorder at any time, according to Mental Health UK.
Anxiety can lead to restlessness as well as fatigue, trouble concentrating or feelings of having a ‘mind blank’.
According to Kalms UK, there is research suggesting that lavender oil can reduce excessive neurotransmitter activity, improving symptoms of anxiety.
Try Kalms Lavender One-A-Day Capsules (£6.85 for 14, Boots).
3. You’re stressed, or worse… burnt out
“Both stress and burnout – a state of physical and emotional exhaustion – could make it harder to sit still,” says Barbara Santini, Psychologist at peachesandscreams.co.uk.
She adds that both can cause mental restlessness, which makes it hard to fall asleep, manage time and complete tasks.
“They are the reason you will see an individual seated, but tapping their feet or hands, or getting agitated.”
Think this is you? It’s vital you implement stress-reducing tactics to your daily life, including getting enough sleep and exercise.
Schedule downtime into your calendar much like an appointment and take time away from people or situations that leave you depleted.
4. Your mind is too busy
“Restlessness, even when having enough time to sit still could be because your mind is always working,” says Barbara.
“Most of my patients say they cannot sit for five minutes without getting bored and begin thinking of something to do.
“It is because the mind is busy and cannot allow you to focus.
“The thought of touching things around you or keeping yourself engaged is because of the inability to calm down your mind.”
Try writing down a list of things that need completing to essentially ‘dump’ it from your mind.
It can also help to keep a notebook and pen handy to write down any thoughts that crop up in your mind.
5. You’re lacking in magnesium
Rob Hobson, Healthspan’s Head of Nutrition, says one of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is anxiety.
Plus, when you’re stressed, you can become depleted of magnesium more quickly.
“You end up in a circle, where you’re really stressed and you’re losing magnesium more quickly and then this could result in anxiety,” says Rob.
He recommends taking a magnesium supplement.
6. You’re eating too much sugar
“This is going to make you very twitchy,” says Rob, who adds that too many stimulants generally can cause an inability to sit still.
Keep tabs on your caffeine intake and remember, caffeine can also be found in foods such as dark chocolate and some medications.
And check the sugar in supposedly ‘healthy’ foods such as granola, juice, cereals and yoghurts.
7. You haven’t eaten enough
Found yourself going the whole day without food?
“If you haven’t had enough food in the day, you might end up getting dizzy or you might not be quite with it,” says Rob.
This can cause you to become restless, twitchy and fidgety, as well as making it difficult to concentrate.
It’s important to try and stick to a regular meal pattern, to ensure that your blood sugar levels stay stable.
This can help to ease restlessness and help you feel calmer.
8. It might be restless legs syndrome
According to the NHS, this condition of the nervous system ‘causes an overwhelming irresistible urge to move the legs’.
It is often worse at night, is more common in women than in men and can severely impact sleep.
Plus, the same sensations can also occur in the arms and hands too.
Although the cause hasn’t completely been discovered, it has been linked to pregnancy, underlying health conditions such as iron deficiency and it’s even been linked to how the body deals with a chemical hormone called dopamine, responsible for muscle movement.
Ella McCrystal, Psychotherapist, Clinical Hypnotherapist & Mindset Coach adds that it can also be linked to depression.
“When I see clients presenting with restless legs syndrome, it’s more often than not linked to a diagnosis of depression.
“The client seeks out treatment with me to resolve the discomfort.
“I generally employ an integrative approach for restless legs syndrome, which includes clinical hypnotherapy and sensorimotor psychotherapy (which looks at trauma in relation to physical ailments).”
Other helpful solutions to help ease restless legs syndrome include exercise, quitting smoking and implementing a healthy bedtime routine are all ways to help restless legs syndrome.
However, if you believe it to be triggered by an underlying condition, then this needs to be dealt with first.
Certain cases of restless leg syndrome are caused by a lack of magnesium, so a magnesium supplement may help with symptoms.