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35 Ways to Improve Your Mood: Tips for Asperger’s Adults

The way we think and react to a situation determines how much happiness and success we will find in our lives. For example, the pessimistic person who is watching his business go bankrupt due to the current economic slump will view his dilemma as “the end of the world.” Conversely, for the optimistic person, the same scenario would be “an opportunity to start something new and different” in accordance to his or her choice.

Attitudes are organized collections of thoughts about a particular issue. To be optimistic, you need to eliminate certain pessimistic thinking patterns. These include the four major types of negative thinking:
  • Polarizing: a type of black-and-white thinking that defines failure as any result short of perfection.
  • Personalizing: automatically blaming yourself every time something bad happens.
  • Filtering: psychologically screening out the encouraging aspects of complex scenarios.
  • Catastrophizing: expecting the worst possible outcome in any situation.

How adults with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism can improve their mood significantly:
1. Be patient with yourself as you begin the journey of moving from pessimism to optimism. It takes some time to accomplish this shift. There’s no hurry.

2. Beware of the fact that pessimistic people attract other pessimists. Those who live in a world of “doom and gloom” alienate others, thus they have no choice but to look for other pessimistic people to associate with. They then feed off one another and get locked in a clique of cynics.

3. Call a friend. Pick up the phone and call someone. Don't email …its much less personal. You'll have a laugh and the endorphins will start flowing again.

4. Do some deep breathing. Close your eyes and take slow breaths in through your nose as deeply as you can. Hold for a few seconds. Release slowly through your mouth. Repeat 5 times.

5. Donate money to a worthy cause. There are so many worthwhile organizations to which you can donate money to. Pick a cause that has a personal connection, make an easy annual limit that is within your budget, and then pledge to make that donation. Most of these are tax-deductible.

6. Employing positive self-talk will improve your outlook. When your state of mind is generally positive, you're able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way. That ability may contribute to the widely observed health benefits of optimistic thinking. Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a destructive thought enters your head, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you.

7. Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind, body and soul.

8. Failure to do what you want to do and what makes you happy causes physical and mental stress. So, the lesson is simple: Do what makes you happy (as long as it isn’t harmful to you or others).

9. Find a cool hobby. Pull out your video camera, your oil paints, or your clay. Get creative again. Do you play guitar? Do you like to write? Scrapbook? Getting that creative spark going may be just the ticket to feeling optimistic again.

10. Find a quiet place and about 10 minutes all to yourself at the beginning or end of the day. Turn off your cell phone and avoid all interruptions. Just sit by yourself and listen to your breathing. Observe your thoughts (but try not to judge them during this quiet time).

11. Forgive yourself. Write down one thing you think you did "wrong" in the past, or one way in which you think you are falling short, and let it go – completely. If you aren't convinced that you should be forgiven for the alleged transgression, then pick an easier item for self-forgiveness.

12. Get lost in a good book. Go to the library or bookstore and drift into the experience (e.g., the hush, the shuffling feet, the soft sounds, etc.). Emerge hours later feeling a little lighter.

13. Get organized. Sometimes clutter can make one feel overwhelmed and mildly depressed. If you are at the office, use your lunch hour to tackle some of the piles and stuff crammed in your desk drawers. At home, tackle on one room or space at a time. Getting things in their proper place can ease a lot of your anxiety.

14. Get out in the sun. Go outside or stand beside a bright window and bask in the warming rays for a few minutes. Sunlight ups the level of vitamin D in your body, which in turn keeps serotonin high.

15. Give an honest, heart-felt compliment to someone deserving of it. 

16. Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less anxious.

17. Have a good cry. If you have suffered a loss or are otherwise grieving, it may be helpful to let the tears flow. You may not immediately feel a great deal happier, but in the long term, the sadness will not be so bottled up. 

18. If you choose to allow certain events or circumstances in life to dictate your mood, you are giving away your personal power to whatever triggered your pessimistic attitude.

19. If you want to become more positive, first identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about (e.g., work, your daily commute, a relationship, etc.).You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.

20. It’s always possible to change a pessimistic attitude, but it won’t be easy. If you lived your life seeing only dark colors, you can’t turn this around in a day. However, by taking small and consistent steps, you will gradually become a happier individual.

21. Know that positive thinking is not enough. If you can’t find the cause of your pessimistic attitude, you will only cover this attitude with positive words. So, find the cause of it, and this will allow you to change your pessimistic attitude. 

22. Learn to focus on the here and now, and do all you can to make the most of what you have.

23. Listen to your favorite upbeat song and you’ll be happier in seconds. Music has a powerful influence over state of mind. Music activates the part of your brain that’s hardwired for pleasure. 

24. Make sure the people in your life are positive, supportive individuals that you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Pessimistic people will increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in a healthy way.

25. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking about. If you find that your thoughts are mainly pessimistic, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.

26. Practicing optimism every day. If you tend to have a pessimistic outlook, don't expect to become an optimist overnight. But with practice, eventually your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. You may also become less critical of the world around you. Plus, when you share your optimism, both you and those around you enjoy an emotional boost.

27. Say to you yourself that you are successful and you are having a great day. Repeat this 10 to 15 times to get the point across to your mind. You can convince your mind of anything if you say it over and over again.

28. Start a blog. A blog will give you an outlet for your feelings. And it may be even better for triggering happiness, because people can leave you positive comments.

29. Start a journal. It can be any kind of writing in which you relate your thoughts of the day. Sometimes just getting it out releases some of the negative energy. 

30. To loosen the grip of a pessimistic attitude, become aware of your complaining, stop it in its tracks, and immediately look for something positive to say. It’s just a matter of replacing a bad habit with a good one.

31. Try to understand what causes your pessimistic attitude. It might be that you live with a person who constantly ruins your mood, or it may have something to do with your past. Maybe something happened to you that made you deeply upset, and you have not totally recovered from that incident. Understand that the incident is long gone, and you should not live in the shadow of it. Your past can only have influence on your present if you let it. Remember, your true power is in the present moment.

32. Volunteer somewhere. You can find a couple hours a month to make a big difference in a few peoples' lives. Soup kitchens always need extra hands. Religious organizations love volunteers to help with many events throughout the year. What about the local Humane Society? Local communities also have events that can use both volunteers. Check the local Chamber of Commerce website.

33. When you first awake in the morning, sit up in bed, take a big stretch, put a smile on my face, and then assert, “Today I am going to have a great day.”

34. Write to a family member. Choose someone with whom you haven't corresponded in a while and tell them how much you appreciate their being a part of your life, or tell them a joke – whatever cheers you up.

35. You’re not at the mercy of different kinds of pessimistic feelings that visit you when you least expect. You can control how you feel.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Asperger's Adults and Personal Hygiene

Have you ever been accused of not taking care of your personal hygiene? If so, then this article is for you!

When meeting anyone for the first time, the first impression you make is the most important. The way you look in terms of style and hygiene are the biggest factors with an initial impression. Although it may seem shallow to concentrate on personal appearance only, it is one of the most important parts of making a good impression.

The following tips will help you to put your best body forward every day:

1. Drink a lot of water throughout the day. 75% of Americans are actually dehydrated on a regular basis. Get into the habit of drinking more water. It's important to be hydrated in order to get clearer glowing skin, healthier hair, and also to feel healthier.

2. Get rid of “extra” hair. For ladies, check your upper lips, side burns and armpits. For both men and women, keep your eyebrows, nose-hair, and ear-hair in check. Take a look around for stray hair on or around moles, and check the back of your neck and upper back for stray hairs. Proper hair grooming should be practiced on the entire body. Trimming (or shaving) any long hairs that are below the neck is a good idea.

3. Brush your teeth, floss, and get dental checkups. A clean mouth and clean teeth give you a nice smile and fresh breath, both of which are major positives for personal appearance.

4. Don’t use antibacterial soap. Antibacterial soap might kill off some of the bacteria on your skin, and that’s bad for two reasons: (1) it lowers your own resistance to a variety of bacteria, making you more susceptible to bacteria-borne illness; (2) if a soap kills off 99.9% of bacteria, the 0.1% that’s left is going to be resistant to that soap and will thrive.

5. Dress a bit better than others. Observe what the standard dress code is in your workplace, then strive to dress just a slight notch better than that. Not enough so that you stick out, but enough so that you look very crisp and fresh compared to the rest of the crowd. Wear things that compliment your body shape. If you aren't sure how to, find a shopping buddy. Ask a friend for advice and tips, or get them to go shopping with you. Pick someone who looks great in their clothes (preferably someone of similar body type as you).

6. Take care of your feet, as they take a lot of wear and tear. One way to do this is with the use a pumice stone in the shower to scrub off all dead skin. Once you have done this, apply a thick lotion or body butter and rub it all over your feet.

7. Even if your skin is not excessively dry, applying a lightly fragranced body lotion daily will keep it supple, and it will also smell nice. If your skin is dry, lotion is more of a necessity to prevent it from becoming itchy and uncomfortable. Applying body lotion will also smooth out any dry patches, and it will give your skin a sheen and youthful glow.

8. Exercise at least 3-5 times a week. A simple work-out would be to walk, jog or run for at least 10 minutes or longer. Try doing sit-ups, crunches, side crunches and push-ups too. This will work-out the main attractive features on your body.

9. For the ladies, if you have blotchy skin, zits or under-eye circles, wear a little concealer or foundation. If you want to add some color to your look, wear a lip gloss or colored eyeliner. Be careful not to over-do it though.

10. Get dental or orthodontic work as needed. Having your teeth fixed is a wonderful investment. Many health care plans will cover dental corrections, so if you have any issues with your teeth, mention them to your dentist or seek out an orthodontist. Most dental corrections are simple and very cost effective investments for improving your personal appearance, so seek them out.

11. Have good posture. Great posture makes you look confident and taller. Try not to lean to one side. Keep your back straight when sitting. It may be hard at first, but you'll get used to it.

12. Keep your hair clean, combed and trimmed. Clean hair, even if it’s a bit disheveled or not cut perfectly, does wonders for a person’s appearance.

13. Make certain that your hands and fingernails are well groomed. Hands are actually one of the most visible parts of yourself because you use them often. This doesn't mean that you have to actually paint them or pay for expensive manicures. Just keep your hands and cuticles moisturized. File the fingernails into a nice shape and remove any hangnails.

14. Minimize body artwork. If you choose to have body art, be aware that for many people, such art is in fact a social stigma. In some careers, body art is inconsequential or even encouraged, but this is far from true for most jobs. Just be very careful of the long-term consequences if you are considering some form of permanent body art.

15. Clean those ears. One area of the body that can be easily overlooked, even when you bathe and wash daily, is your ears. As part of your regular grooming process, clean behind your ears with a washcloth and face cleanser, and also clean around the edges if necessary. Even if you look amazing, dirty ears will make it look as though you don't value personal hygiene.

16. Shave, or keep your beard trimmed.

17. Stretch every day, because being flexible will help your body, which will make you feel confident.

18. Take a bath or shower and clean thoroughly every day.

19. Tiredness is not attractive. Get about 7 to 8 hours sleep every night.

20. Use deodorant. A scentless odor-blocking deodorant, preferably one that does an effective job of absorbing moisture, can do wonders for both minimizing any potential body odor and for keeping any moisture from appearing on your clothing. Also, wear attractive perfume or body spray. 1 - 3 sprays is sufficient. If you have a strong expensive perfume, you may only need to spray once. Your perfume will last longer if you spray the back of your neck or your wrists. Don't spray your hair, because the oils may cause it to smell different.

In summary, keep yourself clean and presentable, dress well, and interact positively with others. It takes time, effort, and a bit of money to pull that off, but if you do, you’ll create an overall positive impression of yourself with everyone you interact with, and that positive impression is something very, very valuable to have.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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