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Life Balance

7 Reasons Why You’re Feeling Restless and Unmotivated

Written by Undre Griggs
Coaching To Help Professionals And Organizations Change Their Beliefs So They Can Get Results.
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Plenty of people set out each year to change their lives. You may want to lose weight, increase your income, recommit yourself to your faith, or spend more time with your family. Yet, less than 8% of them actually accomplish their resolution.[1] Somewhere along the way, you face an obstacle that leaves you feeling restless and unmotivated.

It is essential to recognize that feeling restless is a normal part of life. Things do not always happen as quickly or as efficiently as you anticipate. Depending on why you feel that way, there are a variety of actions you can take to bounce back in life.

What Does It Mean to Feel Restless?

Restlessness is defined as a persistent desire to move, an inability to calm your mind, or a combination of both. Hyperactivity, anxiety, palpitations, agitation, and sleeplessness are all possible side effects.

Others may have difficulties completing work, managing time, or falling asleep at night due to mental unrest.

From the standpoint of clinical psychology, restlessness is a type of neurosis.[2] Excessive and illogical worry or fixation is referred to as neurosis.

It’s a symptom of mental illness. That is, the basis of the problem lies within the mind. Neurosis causes undue tension, which can lead to despair and a sense of helplessness.

Why Feeling Restless is Only a Sign of Something Deeper In You?

When you try to dig a little deeper in your thoughts (either on your own or with professional assistance), you realize that restlessness has a lot to do with mental tensions and confusion.

When you fail to stay completely in the present and enjoy the moments of reverie, it elucidates that your mind is bothered by something. Whether you realise it or not, you are transferred into a different world where you deal with these mental disputes when you feel restless.


More often, when you are unable to resolve a situation, take action or decide by yourself, that’s when you start getting restless.

Feeling restless is not just related to physical conditions and burning out, but it has a lot to do with the lack of purpose or confidence. You need to direct your energies and efforts into pinpointing its source.

7 Common Reasons of Feeling Restless And Unmotivated

Below are the seven most common causes of restlessness, along with a few strategies to feel peaceful and motivated.

1. Suppression of True Passion

Everyone has two little voices in their head. One voice belongs to your inner self, while the other is your inner critic.

Your inner self is the voice of your imagination, confidence, and a sense of purpose. This allowed you to march to the beat of your own drum when you were young. If you wanted to play, you played. When you were ready to sleep, you went to sleep.


As you aged, though, you were conditioned to believe that following your purpose made you selfish or irresponsible. Your inner critic started to take over and told you why playing it safe was the best option. As a result, you started feeling restless because you needed to suppress your desires to please others.

This internal battle is exhausting. Thus, you must be true to yourself all the time. Allow your inner self to guide you and accept the fact that you can’t please everyone.

2. Battling on Too Many Fronts

When they say you can have anything you want, they don’t mean everything at once. You may be feeling restless and unmotivated because you set yourself up for failure.

For example, you may find it challenging to reduce your spending while trying to eat healthily. Most will agree that healthy eating requires you to spend more money on raw foods, after all. Since your goals run opposite of each other, you must prioritize your goals.

The same would be true if your goal is to earn a promotion and be with your family more. Promotions usually require you to take on more projects while maintaining your current workload. Naturally, you will build efficiency as you become familiar with the new tasks, but you may need to work overtime on multiple occasions, too.

3. Negative Perspective About Life

Failure tends to make you feel like reevaluating your life. The following questions may come to mind as you deal with setbacks:

  • Was this really what I was meant to do?
  • Should I have played it safer?
  • Does this mean it is not for me?

Feeling restless is a natural feeling when you are wondering if you wasted the last few years chasing a far-fetched dream.

The problem with asking yourself, “What went wrong?” is that it will produce a negative answer.

Negative perspectives are difficult to overcome. In truth, it might show you that you could have always done better. That is why so many people never leave the analysis phase of changing their life. Right before taking action, they realize how something can improve, so they end up not doing anything.

Instead of consistently recognizing all that is wrong with the world, start to train yourself to identify what is right in your life. Try asking yourself, “What is one positive outcome of trying and failing?”

4. Lack of Confidence

Somewhere along this journey that we call life, you stopped believing you were good enough, which led to feeling restless.

A quick fix for this cure is to think of something that makes you feel incredibly confident. It could be as simple as your ability to ride a bike or ace a job interview.


Would it be fair to say you have not always had confidence in your interview skills? What changed then?

What changed is the fact that you have secured several jobs over the years. The same idea goes with your confidence in your ability to ride a bicycle.

When you accomplish a goal, doubt vanishes from your consciousness. You no longer feel the need to spend three days preparing for a job interview or researching how to ride a bike. You are confident because you have successfully passed a variety of interview questions before.

You lack confidence and feel restless if you haven’t prepared sufficiently for the task at hand.

5. Excessive Dependence on Others

Depending on other people is not always a bad thing. As an African proverb states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.”

When you work with others, you have an accountability partner who motivates you to continue. However, the problem arises when you depend too much on others.

The more you depend on others, the more you relinquish control of parts of your life. (Check out more reasons to reduce your dependency here: 11 Reasons Why You Need To Be More Independent)


It is comparable to those group projects you had in school. If you don’t like to procrastinate, you will be frustrated by a partner who does not look at the assignment until a week before its due date.

To stop feeling restless and keep others from siphoning your motivation, you need to collaborate with people who share your core values.

6. Experiencing Burnout

Burnout is no joke. It is usually the result of trying to do too much too quickly. You feel as if you have lost time; you want to make up for the last five years in a short time.

A classic example would be someone who has gained 90 pounds over three years and now wishes to lose it all in three months.

Is it possible? Probably, but what kind of diet would someone need to maintain in an attempt to lose a pound a day?

Similarly, imagine someone has wanted to start a business for the past couple of years. They have always found a reason to push the date back, but now they feel a sense of urgency. They slave away in their day job and work and work on the business all night, causing them to get only an hour of sleep.


You may undoubtedly feel like things are finally progressing in the right direction, but how long can you keep this pace up?

When you eventually burn out, you will be feeling restless, significantly when your gains slowly erode. Because of that, you need to maintain a realistic timeline for your goals. Remember: You are building a life-changing habit, and that takes time.

In the meantime, take care of your mental health through relaxation techniques like deep breathing.

7. Being an Army of One

Whether it is difficult for you to trust others or you are attempting to conceal your setbacks, secluding yourself is a recipe for disaster.

There is a reason why the best among us have coaches and mentors. Seeing things from a different perspective is beneficial, especially if it’s from an expert at achieving the same goals you set for yourself.

Too often, when you isolate yourself, your perception may become skewed to your own biases. From the numerous studies regarding diversity, one highlights the increased returns created by a diverse board versus one that lacks diversity.[3]

Sometimes the only thing you are missing is the ability to run an idea by someone else. It’s not even that you need them to create the concept, but there is a benefit to talking things out with others. Don’t take the burden on yourself. Outside of feeling restless and overwhelmed, your results may suffer.


How to Overcome Restlessness

Here’re some ways to help you overcome restlessness:

1. Find Your True Motivation

Nothing else works if you can’t find motivation within you. If you live your life with autopilot, you will be going nowhere.

Find out how to find your true passion and motivation with this guide: What Is Motivation And How To Get Motivated (Your Ultimate Guide)

By discovering your drive, you will be clearer about what you life is about and gradually gain confidence in what you do.

2. Meditate

Train your mind to ignore urges. Do it every regularly, and you’ll see that you can be calmer and more focused during times of anxiety or stress.

3. Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises are very efficient in relieving stress and alleviating anxiety and depression symptoms.

4. Sharing Thoughts

Don’t keep your feelings hidden from your family, friends, and coworkers. If you have a problem with someone, attempt to resolve it as soon as possible, so you don’t stew on it and cause yourself unnecessary stress

5. Dieting

Consuming a well-balanced diet will help you to feel better and to overcome restlessness. A bad diet can make it worst.

6. Get Enough Sleep

Your mental health is intimately tied to your sleep.

7. Set Time for Yourself

Every day, set aside time for yourself, even if it’s only half an hour. Relax in a peaceful place, take a walk, or do something you enjoy

8. Exercise

One of the most underrated relaxation techniques might assist you in unwinding and sleeping better. It might be as simple as going for a stroll or taking 5 minutes of yoga or stretching at home to relax. Getting outside in the sunlight and fresh air can help to balance your mood

When to Ask for Professional Help?

It can be tough to tell whether your restlessness is a symptom of a mental health condition. A licenced provider can help you understand what’s going on and offer medical advice to treat the underlying reason.

Restlessness is not supposed to be a part of life, and you can surely overcome instability. Consider reaching out or talking to your doctor if you feel restlessness is messing with your daily routine or you see yourself doing mentally unstable acts.

The first thing to understand about therapy is that it comes in several forms. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is one of the most effective methods of therapy.

It is also widely used in individuals with anxiety disorders or depressive episodes. This skill-building and evidence-based strategy seek to help you feel better by changing particular ways of thinking and acting.


Final Thoughts

The first step to stop feeling restless and unmotivated is to start paying attention and acknowledge something did not go quite as planned.

Whether you set an unrealistic timeline or you face an unforeseen setback, recognize you need to make an adjustment. This allows you to stop holding onto the past so that you can propel into the future.

Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness tend to drain your motivation. You will find success by allowing yourself to make adjustments as you gain additional insights and knowledge. Remember: your past doesn’t dictate your future if you change the actions that have created your past results.

Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com


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