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Coping Strategies for Adults with Asperger's

I recently asked a few of my adult Asperger’s (High-Functioning Autism) clients to tell me what has really worked for them in the way of coping strategies. Here are their answers:

Mark Hutten: “As you look back on your life, what has been your most effective coping strategy?”

Rick: “I think my most effective coping strategy has been my faith in God. I don't go to church as much as I should, or read the Bible as much as I should, but I do have a strong belief that God is with me and helps me through my trials. He has always come through for me.”

Michael: “What has worked for me more than anything else is staying in shape and working out. I try to do cardio in the morning and weight-bearing exercises in the afternoon. Staying in shape is both a distraction for me and a mood elevator, which helps me to cope with other things that come up in my day.”

Rhonda: “Well, I consider myself to be a lifelong learner. I like to read, and I keep my mind active by educating myself on new subject matter. Gaining new knowledge in an area that is new to me helps me to focus on things other than my personal problems. I also go to my local college and take classes periodically. So staying mentally sharp helps me to cope.”

Sarah: “Counseling has been the best technique for me. I come here every week. I can talk to the group about personal matters that I wouldn't feel comfortable talking about with anyone else, and you guys give me great feedback and insight. It helps me see things from a different perspective, which keeps me from taking life too seriously and taking other people's behavior to personally.”

David: “I have a couple close friends that have been a big help to me. I could probably have as many friends as I want to, but I'm not a very social person by nature. I would rather have one or two close friends than a dozen wishy-washy friends. My friends are very similar to me with regard to temperament. So we click together pretty good. We can laugh at life, which is a great stress reliever for me.”

Katherine: "What seems to help me through life in general is my job. For the most part, I enjoy my work. It brings me a lot of satisfaction. I'm preoccupied with job related matters most of the day. It seems to be a source of good stress rather than bad stress for me, if that makes sense."

Shawn: “My wife has been the best source to help me to cope. She holds me accountable, but when I have a meltdown, she usually backs-off because she knows that my meltdown only lasts for short period of time. If I'm upset, she doesn't get upset because I'm upset. She helps me to calm down. I love her very much and she's my best friend.”

Allan: “Music helps me to cope. I play several musical instruments, and it's easy for me to express my feelings as I'm playing the instrument. I can express all of my emotions whenever I am playing music. If I feel frustrated, I can play frustrated feelings in my music. If I am happy, then my music sounds happy too. It is a natural way for me to get rid of painful emotions.”

Thomas: “Probably what helps me to cope every day is to just lie down on the couch and watch a good movie with my cat. It helps me to calm down and enjoy a couple hours in the day. My cat is very playful, and this reminds me to keep it simple and make it fun. She reminds me that play is just as important as work.”

Tina: “I enjoyed cooking. Cooking new dishes is relaxing to me. I enjoy experimenting with different recipes. Cooking is kind of a hobby for me. It involves several steps ...going to the grocery and getting good ingredients ...coming home and putting the recipe together ...cooking ...and then the best part, eating it. I also enjoy experimenting with different wines. For example, red wine goes good with pasta, and certain white wines go better with seafood. So it is always fun to connect the best wine to a particular dish.”

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