Fidgeting is making small movements with your body, usually your hands and feet. It’s associated with not paying attention.
Fidgeting often reflects discomfort and restlessness. For example, if you’ve been listening to a lecture for a long time, you may find yourself tapping your pencil.
Fidgeting can increase your physiological arousal and help you feel more alert. The physical activity of fidgeting can provide a temporary distraction from whatever activity you’re doing.
Some scientists argue that the “mental break” fidgeting provides is actually your body’s way of trying to stay focused on the task at hand. However, other studies suggest that a fidgeting body simply reflects a wandering mind.
Stress can also cause fidgeting. In some cases, fidgeting can relieve feelings of stress.