Harness Fidgeting To Improve Focus
Carey A. Heller
STOP SHAKING YOUR LEGS. You are making the kitchen table move, said Johns mother. John, stop tapping your fingers on the desk, you are disturbing the other students, said Johns teacher. These and similar comments are probably familiar to many of you as individuals who fidget, as parents of children or teens who fidget, or as someone who interacts in some way with people who struggle to sit still.
Hyperactivity, a common symptom associated with ADHD, involves excessive movement and trouble sitting still. Thus, fidgeting is considered a symptom of hyperactivity.
For a long time, fidgeting has been viewed as a negative symptom that needs to be stopped. Only more recently have professionals and parents begun to realize that instead of just being stopped, fidgeting can actually be used in a helpful way to improve focus.
Harnessing fidgeting turns uncontrolled tapping, leg shaking, etc. into controlled movements. In turn, this can lead to increased focus.
To harness fidgeting to improve focus, the first step is to identify what the person does to fidget. For example, many people fidget with their hands by tapping them on the table, moving a pen around quickly, or by picking at things. Others fidget with their feet or legs by tapping their feet, shaking their legs, kicking them against something, or with some other physical movement involving their feet or legs.
General principles of harnessing fidgeting
Regulate Emotions Behaviors & The Mindset
To effectively manage your anxiety, begin by using your feelings and behaviors as information. Anxiety or an otherwise troubling feeling can signal the question, Whats this discomfort telling me? Good follow-up questions include:
- What am I feeling?
- Is the problem really a problem? If so, how can it be managed?
- Whats the best, worst, and most likely outcome of the issue?
Pursue this disentanglement exercise through writing. Making notes on your phone or computer is fine, but there is something more therapeutic and engaging about using pen and paper to write out stressors and worries. Either way, moving the issue out of your head and seeing it take shape as text can help you clearly see whats in your control, and whats not. The exercise is also one of exposure coming face-to-face with the problem.
Heres the exercise in action: Suppose you find yourself self-medicating through alcohol or binge eating during quarantine. How can you manage these urges?
Why Are Some Children Affected And Others Not
Some children are simply born more nervous and anxious and less able to cope with stress than other children.
A child’s anxious personality may be partly determined by the genes they’ve inherited from their parents. Parents of anxious children may recognise the signs and remember feeling and behaving the same when they were younger.
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What Makes Stimming So Soothing Or Enjoyable
It’s not exactly clear why stimming feels good, but Dr. Fizur noted that the behavior helps activate the many neurotransmittersaka brain chemicalsthat regulate our emotions. “Dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate are the big neurotransmitters associated with self-stimulatory behavior,” Dr. Fizur explained.
Howard described the relief she gets from stimming this way: “My body feels squirmy when I need to stimlike actual worms wiggling around just below the skin’s surface. Sometimes before that feeling comes, I get a sudden rush of dread or a feeling that the wind is knocked out of me.” Engaging the stim offers relief and pleasure, Howard said, and the pleasure she feels reinforces the behavior, creating a cycle.
Thinking About Twitching Causes Twitching
Managing your anxiety is extremely important as the mind can cause you to create the body reactions that you fear.
In other words, if youre worried about your muscle twitching, your muscles may be more likely to twitch. Its just another reason that regaining control of your thoughts and worries is such an important tool for dealing with anxiety.
Anxiety reduction is not something that will occur overnight but there are several proven techniques for learning to manage your anxiety so that it no longer has to be a part of your everyday life.
Anxiety can cause muscle twitching. Adrenaline rushes and muscle tension put extra energy in the muscles, causing them to twitch. Long term anxiety may cause twitching even when no anxious thoughts are occurring. Managing anxiety, stress, and diet are important for preventing future twitching.
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When Adversity And Anxiety Erupt How Can Leaders Rebuild Trust
Trust in our leaders is at an all-time low. In this time of uncertainty and crisis when trust is most needed, leaders are losing the respect and positive feelings that exist when citizens, employees and customers believe that their leaders share their concerns and care about their interests. In such a time, what can leaders do to regain or sustain basic trust? Too often, they feel that an inspirational talk or promise can do the trick. But trust is not a message or feeling it is built upon the actions of a leader over time.
It may be hard for us to explain how to gain our trust, but we clearly know when it is lost. When this happens in a personal relationship, we withdraw our energy and level of engagement. We go on an internal strike, not wanting to support the other person who we believe has hurt or mistreated us. As a result, we are less likely to tell them that we are upset, share what is important to us or follow through on commitments. Similarly, when political, business or community leaders fail us, those to whom they are accountable also withdraw and disconnect. This loss of trust is often hidden as followers pretend to be present but inwardly disengage. They quit in place, and the entity stops working.
The Nature of Trust
How Do Fidget Toys Help With Anxiety
Individuals with anxiety may fidget or make small movements when they are feeling anxious, restless, impatient or nervous. Fidget toys give these movements an outlet, which can help calm a persons nerves, relieve stress and serve as a distraction in an overstimulating environment. The toy pulls the user away from any particular stressful thought or situation and provides a temporary form of relief.
It gives people a place to park their mental worries, says Sue Varma, M.D,. a board certified psychiatrist in New York City. The rhythmic sensation of any motion is a form of self soothinglike tapping your feet or shaking your leg.
Some toys, when used by adults, can also provide time for a break, she adds. However in some cases with children, certain toys, such as fidget spinners, can become a distraction.
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They Complain A Lot About Body Pains And Are Actually Physically Prone To Diseases
A person with an anxiety disorder may experience muscle pains more often than normal. They might also suffer from other physical ailments and frequently need to take pain medication. They may also move about or engage in physical activities less because they feel their body is heavy and tired all the time.
The association between anxiety and muscle tension is still not explicitly clear for the experts. But studies have shown that its also another biological and physiological response to stress, according to the Anxiety Centre in the U.K.
Apparently, the body becomes more resilient to attacks with tight muscles. In ordinary cases, this muscle tension eases off when the stress triggers are gone but, obviously, its different with chronic anxiety. If the body is frequently subjected to stress triggers, then the body will remain in this state where the muscles are always tensed. Thus, the muscle pain and the headaches become common for a person with anxiety disorder.
Since there could be many medical reasons for body pain, encourage your friend to get a proper diagnosis from a doctor. If it has been determined that the muscle tension is anxiety and stress related, and not another medical condition, seek a therapists help to flesh out the underlying cause of the anxiety.
There can be ways to get quick relief from muscle pains, such as:
- Regular massages
Adhd Vs Anxiety: Whats The Difference
The difference between ADHD and anxiety ultimately comes down to whether or not the individual is not focused because of fearful, apprehensive thoughts, or is not focused because of being easily distracted even though their mind is calm.
In sum, children with generalized anxiety disorders will have poor focus because their minds are dominated by anxious, worrisome thoughts. Their anxiety can permeate all academic assignments.
In contrast, an inattentive ADHD childs mind can be quiet, but easily distracted, which results in their inattention. They may only show anxiety sometimes about a specific academic task or challenge.
A thorough clinical history is important in helping differentiate the cause of the inattention and evaluating if it may be primarily an anxiety disorder.
Below are some important questions to ask when attempting to make a diagnosis.
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How To Manage Your Fidgeting
This article was co-authored by Carlotta Butler, RN, MPH. Carlotta Butler is a Registered Nurse in Arizona. Carlotta is a member of the American Medical Writers Association. She received her Masters of Public Health from the Northern Illinois University in 2004 and her Masters in Nursing from the University of St. Francis in 2017.There are 28 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 165,885 times.
Energetic children can be very fidgety, and fidgeting usually diminishes as the person reaches adulthood. A certain degree of fidgeting can be normal and even beneficial.XTrustworthy SourceUnderstoodNonprofit organization dedicated to resources and support to people with thinking differences, such as ADHD or dyslexiaGo to source But if you find yourself getting distracted, you may be wondering how to get it under control. There are some ways to help manage your fidgeting habit they are to determine the causes of your fidgeting, reduce your caffeine and sugar intake, increase how much you exercise, and practice relaxation techniques.
Treating Adhd And Anxiety At The Drake Institute
For 3 decades, the Drake Institute has successfully treated patients for both ADHD and anxiety without the use of drugs or invasive protocols.
At the Drake Institute, we believe that the best strategy for helping ADHD and anxiety symptoms is to enable the patient to mobilize their brains natural ability to self-regulate optimally, which is why we utilize qEEG brain mapping to identify the areas of the brain that are under or over-activated.
Once we have a clear picture of where the dysregulation is occurring, we can then develop a treatment plan that is tailored to the patients individual needs.
Since specific regions of the brain can have multiple functions, whereby both “attention” and “emotional regulation” can come from the same region, one of the major advantages of brain map-guided neurofeedback is that treating one dysregulated region or functional network can result in simultaneous improvement of both anxiety and inattention symptoms.
Stress biofeedback can also be utilized in enabling patients to reduce debilitating psychophsiological tensions that sustain anxiety.
Again, the priority order for treatment procedures depends on whether anxiety or inattentive ADHD is determined to be the primary problem experienced by the patient. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but a custom-tailored strategy based on individual needs.
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How Do I Stop Ocd Testing
Like all types of OCD, Checking OCD can be treated with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy , specifically with treatment approaches called Exposure with Response Prevention , and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Mindful-Based CBT teaches patients that everyone experiences intrusive thoughts.
How To Calm Anxiety Or Panic Attacks
There are a number of ways you can face anxiety or panic attacks. There are many holistic things you can do to help calm yourself down, like simple lifestyle changes, for example. Experts have many other coping techniques they can share with you too.
Cynthia Catchings, LCSW-S, LCSW-C, CMHIMP, EMDR, has some great ideas.
You can calm anxiety or panic attacks by learning to recognize the symptoms and practicing the following:
- Acknowledging that youre experiencing an episode and reminding yourself that it will not last forever
- Practicing deep breathing, including the 4-7-8 breathing exercise
- Doing a quick body scan, asking yourself where the anxiety is felt, and releasing it by shaking that body part
- Talking to your anxiety and permitting it to stay for a bit, but reminding it that it has to leave
- Practicing, meditation, mindfulness, or Tai Chi
- Practicing Creative Visualization, where you imagine yourself in a calm and happy place like the beach or a mountain for a minute or 2, and then continue with your daily activities
Keep in mind that there is hope a professional can treat both issues. Remind yourself about this when you want to feel calm.
An anxiety or panic attack may also be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or anti-anxiety medication. A panic attack can also be treated with CBT or with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other antidepressants.
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Youre Going Through Menopause
As researchers at Uppsala University found, constant fidgeting at night can point to the beginning stages of menopause. This study of Swedish women entering menopause found that fidgeting and restless leg syndrome more often than not accompanied symptoms typical of the shifting of hormones, like night sweats and fatigue. Basically, as the study points out, this depletion of hormones can cause fidgeting, specifically at night.
Trouble Falling Or Staying Asleep
Sleep disturbances have a strong association with anxiety disorders.
People with an anxiety disorder may find themselves waking up in the middle of the night and having trouble falling asleep.
Some studies suggest that people with insomnia are 10 to 17 times more likely to develop further mental health conditions such as anxiety.
While insomnia and anxiety are strongly linked, its unclear whether insomnia leads to anxiety, anxiety leads to insomnia, or both.
What is known is that if a person treats their underlying anxiety disorder, insomnia often improves as well.
Panic disorder is another type of anxiety disorder in which a person may experience recurring panic attacks.
Panic attacks produce an intense, overwhelming sensation of fear that can be debilitating.
During a panic attack, a person may also experience:
- rapid heartbeat
- chest tightness
Panic attacks can happen as isolated occurrences, but they may be a sign of panic disorder if they occur frequently and unexpectedly.
You may be showing signs of social anxiety disorder if you find yourself:
- feeling anxious or fearful about upcoming social situations
- worried you may be judged or scrutinized by others
- fearful of being embarrassed or humiliated in front of others
- avoiding certain social events because of these fears
Social anxiety disorder is very common, affecting 5 to 10 percent of people worldwide.
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Anxiety Or Adhd How Can I Tell The Difference
If you suspect ADHD, its really important to get a proper assessment from someone who is qualified to diagnose. Be mindful that many of the symptoms weve discussed might always point louder to ADHD than anxiety. In some instances, it may be that both anxiety and ADHD are driving behaviour. Whatevers happening, getting to the bottom of it is the most important step in getting your child the support they need to push forward.
Because a diagnosis of ADHD depends on observation and interpretation of the behaviours, be open to the possibility that if you go to an ADHD specialist or a doctor who specialises in ADHD, they may be more likely to read the symptoms as ADHD. Certainly they can be an important and wonderful support for kids with ADHD, but always be ready to seek a second opinion if thats what you need for clarity. Ask as many questions as you need to ask and remember, you are the expert on your child. If something doesnt feel right, keep chasing it down until things make sense to you.
Here are some clues that the symptoms might be more indicative of anxiety than ADHD.
Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety
- Feeling on edge
- Racing thoughts
In addition to these symptoms, a recent study from Harvard Medical School , found an association in adults between an over-activated amygdala and an increased risk of cardiovascular events like a heart attack or a myocardial infarction.
Studies have shown that a dysregulated amygdala can negatively impact the brains ability to moderate the fear response system, leaving the individual in an increased state of fight or flight. They can be in an abnormal state of heightened psychophysiological arousal that sustains their anxiety.
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How To Get Rid Of Anxiety
When this symptom is caused by stress, including anxiety-caused stress, some people have found these short-term strategies beneficial:
- Light to moderate exercise before resting or going to sleep
- A short leisure walk before resting or going to sleep
- Deep relaxation
- Quit smoking if you are a smoker
- Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about your medications
- Don’t engage in stimulating activities before you want to rest or sleep
Overall, eliminating anxiety-caused restless leg syndrome requires reducing and eliminating the bodys hyperstimulation. As the body recovers from the adverse effects of hyperstimulation, it stops exhibiting symptoms, including restless legs.
You can speed up the recovery process by faithfully practicing healthy stress reduction strategies, such as reducing your stress load, practicing relaxed breathing, increasing your rest and relaxation, and not worrying about this symptom. Yes, restless legs can be bothersome, but again, when your body has recovered from the adverse effects of hyperstimulation, this symptom will subside.
If you are having difficulty managing worry, you may want to connect with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to overcome what seems like unmanageable worry and anxiety.