Movers and Shakers
Children are naturally prone to constant movement, and if you think about it, that makes sense: they have an entire world to explore and conquer, and they don’t want to be confined to one spot any longer than is absolutely necessary (and sometimes not even that long). As kids mature, their attention span increases and their pinball existence (bouncing from activity to activity and place to place) gradually slows down.
By the time kids mature into adults, they’re supposed to be able to sit through boring lectures, long meetings, endless movies, and painful dates without exhibiting obvious signs of physical or emotional discomfort. Still, at some point in your life, you’ve probably known an adult who just couldn’t sit still for more than a few minutes.
Some people are truly bored if they’re not working at something, so they keep moving as a way to ward off the negative emotions of boredom and frustration. Constant movement is an alternative to focused action for these people, even though they do it without thinking about it. For other people, continuous motion is a way to soothe away the anxiety and worry they already have.
There’s a subtle difference between the two, but one thing is the same—both sets of people derive a certain amount of comfort (if not pleasure) from constantly being on the move.
If you watch someone who’s prone to panic attacks, you can actually see the progression of an episode. What starts out as mild anxiety (wringing the hands) may progress to a state of terror (rocking back and forth, hugging himself tightly) before settling back down into a state of relative comfort (hands clasped tightly).