This week we will are on the third of the five common challenges to meditation/mindfulness, this week is about restlessness and agitation. Restlessness and agitation can be both physical and mental. Making it hard to work with both, and want to continue meditation. Let's talk first about the physical restlessness.
Physical agitation and restlessness can be anything from having a hard time settling down, and starting to have "ants in the pants". When limbs go numb from sitting it can be absolute torture to sit through it. My brain will go into survival mode often and try to tell me that if I do not move I will not be able to make it, whatever make it means. My body will usually lead my mind to start being restless; once the mind joins the party it tends to be hard to not judge the thoughts and to just observe my experience without adding to the hardship that it already is.
Most times all I need to do to work through it is to breath, focus on my breath, and let the thoughts go through me like waves; they will come and they will go, but they will change. Once I found that I needed to change my physical position, I got up and changed the area I was meditating and things seemed to adjust well after that. I do not recommend to get up and move, it is good for the brain to know that it will be okay with just sitting, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.
This week for mindfulness practice:
When you are sitting and breathing, notice if your mind starts to be repetative. It could be a song, a thought, self-talk, or whatever comes up. When the thoughts occur, notice if your body has a response to it, it could be to move, to shift in your sitting position, to scratch something, when these things occur, notice if you can sit through it and let the impulses and thoughts pass through you. Congratulate yourself any time you notice it, and that you are able to let it pass. In the times you are not, notice that too and congratulate yourself for having noticed it.