Coping day-to-day with Asperger's or High Functioning Autism can be stressful to say the least. Sometimes due to various circumstances related to living on the spectrum, your mood may fade a little and leave you sad. And although you know that fighting the feelings can be overwhelming, there are ways to strengthen yourself in those moments and get ahead.
With the following tips, your mood will be uplifted (and perhaps help others who are going through the same as you):
1. Be thankful. This is part of the "count your blessings" proverb we've all heard. Being thankful for all you do have, and saying thanks to others helps you to see the good around you.
2. Change your facial expression. You experience emotion, in part, to communicate to others. Part of the way you do this is through making muscular changes in your face - hence a grimace, frown, look of horror, or smile. We all assume that when we are happy, we look happy – and when we are sad, the result is a sad expression. But it's actually more intriguing than that. Researchers have found that it also works the other way. For example, if you feel blue, start smiling at people and watch how your mood improves. Try it! What have you got to lose?
3. Don’t blame yourself for past mistakes. This is the simplest and most important thing you can do to beat depression. The stigma of depression, plus feelings of guilt and inadequacy, gets in the way of happiness. Managing the symptoms of depression requires a practical, proactive approach—and patience with yourself.
4. Do some form of exercise every day. Exercise can lift your spirits. One reason is the release of endorphins, a morphine like hormone sometimes referred to as "the runner's high."
5. Get a good night’s sleep. Much remains unknown about the connection between depression and sleep, and everyone has different sleep needs, but experts recommend that depressed people need to get enough sleep and maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule.
6. Laugh out loud. Laughter has positive health effects. Search diverse sources of comedy as books, presentations or movies, and enjoy a good time for recreation.
7. Let the sunshine in. Brightening your bedroom when you wake up helps you feel happier all day. Leave curtains and blinds open, and put lamps on a timer to switch on 15 minutes before your alarm sounds to get a “dawn simulation” effect. Just being outdoors can boost your mood as well. Morning sunlight is most beneficial, so take a pre-work walk.
8. Play with a pet. Petting a dog for just 15 minutes releases the feel-good hormones serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, and lowers the stress hormone cortisol. If you’re more of a cat person, no problem. Other research has found that playing with your kitty gives a similar mood and health boost.
9. Look on the bright side. How you frame something can change everything. Try to consider the sunny side of a situation rather than focusing on the negative. If it’s pouring rain, think of the good it will do for your garden. A more optimistic and inventive you who can take on just about anything will result.
10. Use herbs to improve mood. A soothing cup of chamomile tea comes in very handy, especially late on a winter's night. The warmth is welcome and the mild nerve tonic can help relax you. For an added boost, try some jasmine, lavender or passionflower.
Are you smiling yet? Come on, smile for me :)
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