5 coping mechanisms for Autistics
Stress and anxiety are a part of life for almost everyone, but especially those of us on the Autism Spectrum. As part of our 5th Birthday Series, today we’ll be looking at 5 ways to smash anxiety and cope with stress. Let’s a-go!
It’s been scientifically proven that even moderate physical exercise releases endorphins in the brain that reduce anxiety. You don’t need to run a marathon necessarily, (though that works too!) just going for walks or jogs, doing yoga, or hitting the gym can be a very effective method of combating stress.
On the other end of the scale, slowing down rather than speeding up can be another great way to de-stress. Just as with exercise, the benefits of meditation are well documented. Local groups and workshops are common, but you don’t even necessarily need to leave your house to meditate; thanks to the miracle of Youtube, there are countless videos that can walk you through a meditation routine. You can do it on the bus to or from work, when you have a few minutes spare on your break, even in bed as you’re trying to fall asleep.
Ah yes, the secret sauce of the Autism Spectrum; that one thing we almost all have that makes our brains light up like Christmas fireworks. Whether it be a passion for writing, painting, technology, gaming, or countless other things, engaging in our special interest is usually our favourite thing to do, and as such it has a powerfully positive emotional payoff that can often wash away our worries in a flood of joy.
Talk it over
Often when we feel stressed out, we tend to bottle it up and keep it to ourselves, but sometimes getting it off your chest can work wonders. It might be worth reaching out to friends and family and telling them what’s bothering you; maybe they can do something to help, and even if they can’t, just debriefing it with someone can in itself make us feel better.
Stim it out!
There are times when there’s just nothing like a good stress-relieving stim. Me, I gallop around my room flapping my hands. Others might rock, clap, or spin. Stimming incorporates a vast range of behaviours through which us Autistics process the world and regulate our thoughts and feelings. For some, this stimulation might come in the form of being squeezed in tight spaces, or using weighted blankets and clothing, chew toys, or fidget toys. Whatever it is that works you, stimming can be an invaluable tool in our stress-busting arsenal.
And there you have it; 5 coping techniques for when us Autistics need to blow off steam. Stay tuned for more entries in our 5th Birthday series as we approach the day itself, and in the meantime, stay awesome!
Max Williams, Editor