Restlessness: Reasons and Ways to Overcome It


You are constantly irritated and feel unbalanced? The first thing to find out is whether it is purely a mental thing or an illness. If you recognize the cause, you can quickly get rid of the restlessness.

What is Restlessness?

If people feel restless and do not come to rest even when they are relaxed, they often suffer greatly. Because this inner restlessness can be connected with sleep disturbances, thought circles, and other disturbing accompanying symptoms. Often the perceived nervousness and tension can be attributed to existing stress in everyday life.

However, an imbalance in the hormone balance can also be the cause of restlessness, for example, due to the changeover during menopause or hyperthyroidism. Organic causes can also determine the state of nervousness. If the problem persists over a longer period of time and the suffering is severe, a doctor should be consulted. In cases without organic findings, a referral to a psychotherapist will also be issued.

Where does the restlessness come from?

Most often the feeling of restlessness and agitation is due to a lack of silence, and stress. Be it exam stress, an upcoming big task, or just the stress of everyday life that suddenly takes over. Even someone who constantly bites his nails or plays around with his hair looks insecure and nervous to other people. If you are busy at the moment and simply can’t get rid of the ballast, this indicates a lack of balance between tension and relaxation – this leads to restlessness and is purely a matter of your head.

We speak of pathological restlessness when there is a mental disorder that leads to physical and inner restlessness. This is the case with ADHD – attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, for example. It mainly affects children and adolescents, but adults can also be affected by the disorder. In this case, the hyperactivity manifests itself through inner turmoil and lack of emotional control. Fears and phobias can also lead to an inner nervous condition and restlessness.

What are the causes of restlessnessRestlessness?

Psychologists at the University of Montreal in Canada have found in their research that insecure and nervous behavior is not necessarily due to insecurity, but can have other causes. After all, perfectionists in particular tend to have these habits.

The scientists accompanied a study with 48 participants and observed the test persons in different situations: boredom, relaxation, stress, and frustration. It was noticeable that the tics came to light and were lived out especially under stress and frustration.

The researchers concluded from this: “These people find it difficult to relax or to complete a task at a normal speed. They are more likely to become frustrated, impatient, and unsatisfied if they do not achieve their goals. They are also easily bored.

Basically, tics like biting nails or twirling hair are not bad habits. This is how energy is dissipated that would otherwise turn into frustration and stress. That’s why those affected should not try to replace the tick with something else. If you want to do something about it, you should see a therapist and get to the bottom of the cause.

What can I do against restlessness?

If you feel restless and irritable for no apparent reason, these tips could help you relax a little. If it is a mental disorder and you can’t find a measure to achieve more serenity, you should definitely see a doctor.

Take a break

In the hectic pace of everyday life, many rushes from one place to another, try to complete as many tasks as possible, still have numerous unfinished items on their to-do list in the evening, and fall into bed exhausted. Frequently, sleep disorders are accompanied by an inner restlessness. If your nervousness is associated with stress, you should definitely allow yourself a few breaks. Take an extensive lunch break, go out into the fresh air, take a short nap, or just lean back and relax.

Reduce caffeine

Inner restlessness, which causes shaky hands and a rapidly throbbing heart, is often due to quite banal reasons like too much caffeine. Many people think they need the black elixir to wake up, although they could do without it. Try to reduce your coffee consumption or take a few decaf days. You should also avoid Cola, RedBull, and green or black tea.

Reduce stress

Rest periods between work can reduce stress, but sometimes this simply postpones the pressure and the restlessness remains. Try to resolve open conflicts, talk about your problems, simply refuse new tasks if you don’t have the capacity for them, and see if you can hand in some to-dos.

Do sports

Often, inner restlessness is also caused by a lack of movement. If you spend most of your time in the office and sit in front of the computer, you usually lack physical balance and become fidgety. Even a short walk during the lunch break or a run after work can help.

Healthy nutrition for inner peace

Food can enhance moods. And many of those that give you an energy boost for a short time will cause restlessness and nervousness later. You should therefore enjoy these seven foods only in moderation.

The caffeinated drink is of course our first friend and helper when it comes to morning tiredness or a loss of energy during the day. Thanks to its effect on the nervous system, it pushes us, but at the same time releases the stress hormone cortisol. This keeps the stress level high. Negative feelings are also strengthened.

Diet Cola

It is similar to diet cola and other energy drinks. However, in addition to caffeine, these also contain sweeteners. They not only trigger restlessness and stress but also cause ravenous appetite.

White bread and pasta

With the consumption of white bread or pasta, the blood sugar level rises fast but also sinks just as fast again. The result: tiredness. Nevertheless, we usually try to maintain our energy level and continue working just as fit. That stresses the body.


A similar up and down of the blood sugar level can be seen after eating ketchup – thanks to the corn syrup it contains. This can trigger ravenous appetite, lousy or fluctuating moods, and restlessness.


It is probably well known that alcohol influences the emotional life. Accordingly, negative moods, fears, and anxiety can be increased after drinking too much.

Salted peanuts

Salted peanuts usually contain sodium and artificial additives – and these can have a negative effect on the body. For example, in the form of nervousness, anxiety, or headaches. Unsalted peanuts are better.

Restless legs as a sleep disorder

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is one of the triggers of sleep disorders. The sensory disturbances, which occur predominantly at night, often deprive those affected of restful sleep.

Only when the affected persons come to rest and are about to fall asleep does the RLS become noticeable. A tingling or pulling sensation in the legs then urges them to move in order to calm the restless legs. Women suffer twice as often from restless legs as men, but treatment is only necessary for less than three percent of the population. In these people, the transmission of nerve impulses to the brain seems to be disturbed.

Drugs containing the neurotransmitter dopamine help to bring the legs back to rest. But other, more harmless causes can also trigger RLS. These include drugs such as antidepressants and neuroleptics, but also iron deficiency or kidney dysfunction. Restless legs can also occur during pregnancy. In all these cases, however, RLS usually occurs only temporarily. If the medication is discontinued or pregnancy is completed, the symptoms usually subside on their own.

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