Psychomotor OE

Psychomotor OE is a heightened excitability of the neuromuscular system. This Psychomotor intensity includes a “capacity for being active and energetic” (Piechowski, 1991, p. 287), love of movement for its own sake, surplus of energy demonstrated by rapid speech, jealous enthusiasm, intense physical activity, and a need for action (Dabrowski & Piechowski, 1977; Piechowski, 1979, 1991). When feeling emotionally tense, individuals strong in Psychomotor OE may talk compulsively, act impulsively, misbehave and act out, display nervous habits, show intense drive (tending towards “workaholism”), compulsively organize, or become quite competitive. They derive great joy from their boundless physical and verbal enthusiasm and activity, but others may find them overwhelming. At home and at school, these children seem never to be still. They thrive on activity and encourage others to “just do something.” They may talk constantly. Adults and peers want to tell them to sit down and be quiet! This Psychomotor OE child has the potential of being misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Source: Sharon Lind, educator


My mom has always twitched her foot while otherwise sitting still, working or watching TV.  And I inherited this.

As I slap a label on myself publicly, I note that psychomotor OE can manifest in a variety of ways; in an effort only to claim the ones that actually apply to me, I bolded things that describe me in the decription above.  If any potential future employers are reading this, I hasten to note that I can work for eight hours a day (or at least as well as most colleagues), but I’m convinced that doing is a terrible idea thought up by someone who clearly didn’t have overexcitability.  Fortunately, I’ve worked jobs where, despite sitting in a cubicle, I can get up and take a couple of quick, brisk walks each day.  Getting up and moving regularly keeps my mind flowing at its peak, and even when I’m back at my chair, I squirm a lot.  I’m not going to grow out of it.  In college, I once went to Japanese lab wearing roller blades; no one minded, and it was a good outlet for the heightened energy I was experiencing that day.  Another time, I attended a training session where the instructor said that if we liked, we were welcome to stand instead of sitting at our tables, just so long as we didn’t block the screens.  I thought that was fantastic and was one of three or four people who made use of it.


When I get home after work, generally what I most want to do is engage in my own creative pursuits, but I do much better with that if I swim or at least take another brisk walk first.  We live in an apartment building that has a gym with an indoor pool in the basement.  That, to me, was the major selling point.  I talked in my imaginational OE entry about using car rides to think about story ideas as a kid; now I use pool time to put together essays ideas.  Max purchased some waterproof paper for me and is working on crafting a journal in which I can jot ideas after each lap.  It will get a lot of use.


If I don’t expend my energy in some form of exercise, what I’m liable to do is start tidying.  I will juggle several tasks at once—picking up shoes and socks that are not in the shoe rack/hamper, polishing the glass coffee table, washing dishes.  It is hard for me to sit still while there are things to do, and there are always things to do.  When I exhaust myself, though, I really exhaust myself. (This is another reason I’m not a big fan of watching movies at home, because usually if I’m willing to sit still and watch it, it’s because I’m tired, which means I’m liable to fall asleep before it ends.)

It’s worth noting that I’m not good at sports or otherwise traditionally “athletic.”  In fact, I have a pretty low level of kinesthetic intelligence.  I never played any organized sport until ninth grade, and then I only joined a recreational soccer team because my best friend was joining it, and I wasn’t very good at it.  But I do like trying new things, and I’ve always enjoyed things like skating, bike riding, and so on.

Though I’m wary of opening up and talking about my quirky interests because I tend to think other people will not be interested, when I do feel that it’s safe to open up, I switch “on” in a way that sometimes surprises people.  I start speaking pretty fast and gesticulating—something drawn to my attention in middle school, when a kid mocked me by waving his arms wildly and saying that was how I talked.


I always have so many things I want to do that I feel fortunate to have what is, evidently, an uncommon surplus of energy.  My mom told me that as a baby, I rarely napped—”You were always too busy taking things in,” she told me.  This has generally served me well, but I’m also interested in meditation as a means of reining that energy in it when it becomes an inconvenience.  My dad was always really interested in meditation and yoga, too.  And you know, I told myself to just relax tonight, so I  sat down tonight to watch the Rio Olympics—but I appear to have ended up churning out another page for my site.

From here, you can go back to the top level
on Dabrowski and overexcitabilities, or continue
through my personal narrative with the links below.

Intellectual   ★   Imaginational
Psychomotor   ★    Sensory   ★   Emotional

Or check out these other experiences of psychomotor OE:

Laugh, Love, Learn’s posts on psychomotor OE

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