Description: Restless, constantly in search of greater excitement in the next activity or constant busyness. Rarely at peace or content with the current activity.
Characteristics: Easily distracted and can get too scattered. Stays busy, juggling many different tasks and plans. Seeks excitement and variety not comfort or safety. Bounces (escapes) from unpleasant feelings very quickly. Seeks constant new stimulation.
Thoughts: This isn’t fulfilling. This next thing has got to be more exciting. These negative feelings suck. I must shift my attention to something exciting. Why can’t anyone keep up with me?
Feelings: Impatience with what is happening now. Wondering what is next. Fear of missing out on other more worthwhile experiences. Restless and wanting more and more options. Worried that focus on any unpleasant feeling will grow and become overwhelming.
Justification Lies: Life is too short. It must be lived fully. I don’t want to miss out.
Impact on Self and Others: Underneath the surface of fun and excitement of the Restless is an anxiety based escape from being present to this moment’s full experience, which might include dealing with unpleasant things. The Restless avoids a real and lasting focus on the issues and relationships that truly matter. Others have a difficult time keeping up with the frenzy and chaos brought by the Restless and unable to build anything sustainable around it.
Original Survival Function: The Restless is a strategy to find constant new sources of excitement, pleasure, and self-nurturing. This could be associated with early life experiences with inadequate parental nurturing or painful circumstances. Restless indulgence not only provided substitute self nurturing, but also an escape from having to deal with anxiety and pain.