Nature is an excellent thing to experience. Irrespective of whether it is a clear blue sky or the sunset which is a mix of mind boggling colors, nature never fails to mesmerize mankind. Even the wildest of the wind makes us admire the power of nature amidst all the chaos it causes. Another wonder which is actually an aspect of nature is the human body. As long as we humans lived a simple life gelling with nature in the perfect manner, we remained no mystery. Our emotions were straightforward contributing to our physical and mental wellness. The moment we started drifting away from nature, we started experiencing many types of emotions that took a toll on our physical and mental health.
One of the main emotions which prove that mankind has drifted far away from its basic nature is the high levels of restlessness it experiences. Early man lived a far better life than what we live today when it comes to mental aspects. This is because he knew the art of living a simple life handshaking with the nature. He lived making use of whatever was available around him. His mind was clear and so perils gave him the energy to escape in an easy manner. Such perils were more external than internal. For instance, he ate the fruits and vegetables available around the place he lived. When he was attacked by animals or natural calamities, he knew the knack of escaping from the same in an effortless manner. This fight or flight instinct of the old age man was so entwined with nature that he didn’t accumulate any stress which caused opposed reactions in him.
Today we live an artificial life full of tension far away from nature. The high level of stress our lifestyle creates in us constantly pulls us away not only from nature but even the smallest of happiness in our life. While the natural fight or flight system inside the human is active all the time ready to fire, our life situations neither allow us to fight nor fly away from the same. The adrenaline caused due to the natural process experiences the surge without finding any proper ventilation for the same. It builds up as stress in the mind leading to constant restlessness.
When & why a person has feeling of restlessness in his life?
Restlessness, the emotion experienced by many quite often, is nothing but the lack of ability to relax or rest. Some terminologies that clearly depict the emotion are nervousness, uneasiness, discomposure, jitteriness, anxiety, edginess and agitation among the many others. The above terminologies clearly points out the elements involved in the emotion called restlessness.
Both our ancient scriptures and the modern science accept that every emotion has its roots inside us. While modern science is thriving hard to bring out more realistic solutions to such mental issues, our ancient scriptures have succeeded in substantiating the reasons for restlessness. Below given are the major reasons for people to become restless. The highlighted words at the end of each sentence draw the relativity to the emotions and are derived from the preachings of Sage Ashtavakra to the great King Janaka in Ashtavakra Gita.
- People usually get restless when what they think does not happen in the manner they think (Lack of Patience, Lack of detachment)
- People feel restless when they want to pursue something but are getting daunted with the various aspects of the same (Lack of compassion, Lack of Focus)
- People become restless when they realize that their motivation level nosedives every time they feel motivated and initiate something (Lack of detachment and Lack of Understanding the reality)
- People experience restlessness when their life situations disallow them to do what they desire to do (Lack of contentment)
- People feel restless when they feel that they are jack of all trades but master of none. They feel left out and lost because their knowledge about too many things does not seem to be helping them in any way. They feel stagnated and confused as to what to pursue in a permanent manner. (Lack of clarity about the truth, Lack of understanding of the real self, Lack of Focus)
- People feel lost and restless when they feel that they are good for nothing because they do not have any special qualities in them as others do. This causes a void in them making them resort to unwanted habits and behaviors. This in turn increases their restlessness. (Lack of understanding of real self)
- People experience restlessness when they are underestimated by others while they feel they are capable of doing great things. The feeling of being suppressed or belittled makes them restless. (Lack of Compassion, Lack of understanding of real self, Lack of knowledge about the Truth)
- People become restless when they are incapable of doing certain things which have been forcefully assigned to them. (Lack of understanding the potential of real self, Lack of Patience)
- People experience restlessness when they want to do many things due to the constant adrenaline flow but feel bored about doing anything due to lack of enthusiasm. (Lack of being mindful)
Remember, while the highlighted words above appear to be traditional preachings when they are taken from Ashtavakra Gita, modern day psychology insists in the same for Personality Development. This is the beautiful relativity between the epics and modern science which target to help man live a peaceful and healthy life. Everything we try to learn today has always been there in us and around us right from our birth only that we have lost all such values somewhere in between.
Is the feeling of “Lack” (in any area of human life) connected to this emotion? If it is then how?
We human beings are abundantly loaded with amazing powers by nature. Our mind is an astounding element that is fully loaded with mystique powers beyond understanding. As we drift away from nature during our life journey, our focus remains lost in unwanted mundane non-value adding things. We fall out from being in the state of ‘abundance’ to the state of ‘lack’. We start lacking in many aspects which leads to restlessness. Restlessness thus is an emotion connected to all those attributes we lack in life some such attributes being the ones discussed below.
- Lack of confidence leads the mind to the state of fear causing restlessness
- Lack of control leads the mind to the state of confusion causing restlessness
- Lack of planning leads the mind to the state of chaos causing restlessness
- Poor Time Management leads the mind to the state of unorganized behavior causing restlessness
- Lack of Adherence leads the mind to the state of disobedience causing restlessness
- Lack of comprehension leads the mind to the state of deception causing restlessness
- Lac of focus leads the mind to feel lost in the wilderness causing restlessness
- Lack of Integrity leads the mind to crookedness causing restlessness
- Lack of enthusiasm leads the mind to boredom causing restlessness
- Lack of sincerity and dedication leads the mind to be callous causing restlessness
- Lack of honesty makes the mind untruthful causing restlessness
The above list is just a sample of some ‘lacks’ and their impact on our minds. The list is unending. Every lack in human being causes tension ultimately leading to restlessness.
The below list of real life situations that can lead to restlessness will also help understand the relativity between the ‘lack’ in us and the emotion the same causes in us.
- A student who has not prepared well for his exams ‘lacks confidence’. This subsequently turns into fear making him feel restless and he subsequently under perform.
- A family head who is responsible for organizing a function feels confused when things fall out of his control, leading to restlessness
- When a subordinate who is supposed to create a report within a stipulated time frame fails to adhere to the same, the disobedience causes restlessness
- When a subordinate who is supposed to create a crucial report acts on it without sincerity and dedication, the callous attitude makes him goof up the data. This causes restlessness
- When one of the friends in a group acts in a dishonest manner to the others, the untruthful attitude and behavior causes restlessness
To summarize, the lack of good character in humans leads to restlessness. The words in Ashtavakra Gita ‘You are really unbound and action less, self-illuminating and spotless’ already’ says it all.
How to overcome this feeling and what all could be done about it?
Restlessness is an emotional state that is experienced by people when the human brain gets over driven due to undue momentum. When the brain becomes pre-occupied and feels lost, it becomes restless. Mastering the art of controlling the mind will provide the much needed inner peace.
Modern Science as well as ancient scriptures like Ashtavakra Gita, (which is a conversation between the great King Janaka with Sage Ashtavakra) provides easy and realistic solutions to overcome restlessness. Some issues pertaining to our mental health and the solutions that are provided by both the modern and ancient aspects are given below for a clear understanding about the same.
The issue – Incapability and unwillingness causes restlessness.
Modern Science says – If you think you will, you can
Ashtavakra Gita says – Thinking makes it so
The issue – Situations we are in and people around us causes restlessness
Modern Science says – Train your mind to see the good in every situation
Ashtavakra Gita says – If one thinks of oneself as free, one is free, and if one thinks of oneself as bound, one is bound
The issue – Seeking recognition and acknowledgement for one’s own activities and experiencing the absence of the same causes restlessness
Modern Science says – Sometimes the journey has to be travelled alone in order to appreciate the strengths that lies deep inside you
Ashtavakra Gita says – The joy, supreme joy, and self awareness is what you are, so be happy
A consolidation of the above and many more such recommendations are pointers to the fact that Ashtavakra Gita insists on – ‘You are the one witness of everything and are always completely free’.
Some realistic tips to get rid of restlessness are given below for the benefit of all who are getting tormented by the same.
- Many a times, boredom acts as the cause of restlessness. Acknowledge and replace the feeling of boredom consciously understanding the reality
- Always be conscious about the thoughts that are flowing through the mind
- Once you are conscious about the thought flow, address the same through self talk
- If you find that your restlessness is due to some thoughts that are extremely haunting, seek help
- Practice meditation which will help you focus in streamlining your breathing patterns. Focussing on the breathing patterns will distract you from the restlessness. Meditation helps you focus in your bodily movements bringing you out of the clutches of restlessness.
- Practice Yoga which will teach a lot of mind control techniques. When your mind is under your control, no emotion or lack of emotion can cause restlessness in you at any point of time
- Exercise regularly. Exercise distracts you from feeling restless making you focus in grooming the physical aspects of your body.
- Be conscious about your state of mind at all points of time. This will rid you from becoming a slave of situations. This will also help you keep your emotions under your control safeguarding the same from getting controlled by others around you.
- Be aware that you are restless but don’t react to it. This may appear tough initially. When practiced overtime this helps in a huge manner
- Consciously be away from active life at least for a few hours every day. This is when you must focus in calming down winding yourself up from the regular emotional upsurge.
Remember, restlessness is just another emotion like happiness, sorrow, anger and many more. If you are able to enjoy happy moments, realize your sadness, understand that you are angry, it means that you can be mindful of your restlessness also. This mindfulness will relieve your from the same in an easy manner.
Do all human being experience restlessness? If so, does the context differ from person to person? If yes how? If not, then why not?
All human beings experience restlessness at one point or the other in their life time. Restlessness can be attributed to many medical conditions. Hyperactivity (ADHD), anxiety and nervousness are considered as some basic causes for restlessness from a medical point of view. Insomnia or lack of sleep also causes restlessness in many.
The reason why people become restless changes from one person to another. It is purely dependent on the personal situations they are in and the individual’s ability to cope up with the environment created by such situations. People who are mentally strong and have control over whatever they do, always feel confident. They never get into a state of restlessness since their planning abilities keeps things under their control always.
As is recommended by Ashtavakra Gita, “Avoid the objects of the senses like poison and cultivate tolerance, sincerity, compassion, contentment, and truthfulness as the antidote”. When you practice all the above, restlessness will automatically feel restless and keep itself at a hand’s distance away from you at all points of time.
Written by Rama Ramji edited by SiteMaster