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Rocking To Relieve Anxiety

Posted by AngelNicki Patient Expert

For as long as I can remember, when I am nervous, upset, sad, worried, bored, anxious, etc, I rock back and forth. I can often be seen sitting there rocking my body rhythmically. Sometimes I'm not even aware that I'm doing it, until someone tells me, "Stop rocking!"
My best friend's brother also has ADHD and severe anxiety. He recently wrote on his Facebook page that he was feeling a lot of anxiety and didn't know why. I commented to him, "Try rocking! It always works for me!" I meant it to be funny, since he was one of the people who always made fun of me when he saw me rocking. He wrote back, saying that he'd tried it, and it had worked!

I've also found that bouncing off of a wall helps. I fold my arms over my chest and just bounce my body against a wall. Thats more of something I do on purpose though, when I am having so much anxiety that I can hardly stand it... as opposed to rocking, which is usually more subconscious.

I know that this type of thing is common with people with autism spctrum disorders, which I also have. But how about for people with ADHD? Does anyone else do this sort of thing? 

Comments (3)
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Yup, I'm a rocker, too. It used to be my shameful little secret, but then I learned other people did it, too. Now I'm out and I'm proud.  :)  

 I'm sure there are several psycho-physiological reasons rocking is so soothing, but the important thing is to knowing one has a great self-soother in one's immediate vicinity. Another (less obvious) trick is to gently stroke your forearm with your hand or with a soft fabric. Also, when I'm having a PTSD attack, I bring myself back to the Here and Now by sitting down and slowly, but continuously drinking either a glass of the coldest water I can stand or a cup of very hot tea. The extreme temperature that the body is forced to process turns the mind away from the stressful thoughts and into the more immediate present.

Thank you for sharing this tidbit.

You Rock! 

I rock, too. I never really noticed it until this year, but it's one of my most common coping mechanisms. I usually don't do it consciously. I just start rocking, and go, "Oh, I'm rocking!"


Thanks, Sophie,  for the tip about the extreme temperature as a distraction from stress.

I am an adult that rocks alot when Im sressed...which is everyday anymore...and I am ADHD...I use a scalding hot bath to stop my RLS which I get everynight..Im on Wellbutrin but it doesnt help that issue...I cannot sit still and have trouble focusing sometimes but I get things done.
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