Are you an adult with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's? Are you in a relationship with someone on the autism spectrum? Are you struggling emotionally, socially, spiritually or otherwise? Then you've come to the right place. We are here to help you in any way we can. Kick off your shoes and stay awhile...

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How Adults on the Autism Spectrum Can Improve Their Mood

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.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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 :)

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

=> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA 

Online Dating: Tips for Lonely Adults on the Autism Spectrum

If you find yourself constantly alone, and if you would really enjoy having a love relationship but don't know how to get one, you will want to consider starting with an “online dating” approach.

Too much anxiety and self-consciousness create a bad first impression; therefore, believe me when I tell you that online dating is infinitely better for adults with Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism compared to a first-time, face-to-face blind date. Dating sites will help you break-out into the dating scene, and help you talk to potential dates in a more relaxed manner.

Imagine walking into the local pub with 50 strangers in it. If you’re looking to start a conversation with someone, where do you start? (You’re feeling anxious already, aren’t you?!) Do you just sit there by yourself in hopes that someone will come up to you and starting talking? Do you risk being offensive by asking someone if you can buy him or her a drink?

An online dating service is like having a friend go into the pub ahead of you as a “scout,” and this scout picks 5 people who you could go out with. How cool is that?! Of course, this doesn't mean that any of those 5 people are perfect for you, just that they share important traits and interests that are the basis for a compatible relationship.

10 reasons to consider dating online:

1. Most online dating sites have a "matching algorithm," (i.e., a formula that matches people in a way that helps ensure they are compatible, thus significantly increasing the chances of romantic success).

2. Adults on the autism spectrum often tend to be better at writing out what they feel and think (e.g., in chat messages), whereas in “real life,” they might hold back feelings or thoughts, or be too afraid or embarrassed to talk about some things.

3. Dating sites allow you to place a photo along with a personal ad, and some even have audio capability so you can listen to your potential partner’s voice. While this may sound a bit superficial at first, it actually takes the whole "meat market" aspect out of the dating process because it allows you to weed out the individuals that you feel uncomfortable with from the start.

4. For the frugal minded “Aspie, online dating saves you a lot of money. When you go out on a “real life” date, you have several possible costs involved (e.g., gas to and from the date, a meal for two, movie or concert tickets for two, etc.) – and this is just for one date! When you date online, you save all of that money (and if the date does not go as you had hoped, you will not be out any money).

5. If it turns out that a particular “online person” is not for you, you can graciously back out without the awkwardness of a “real life” date.

6. One of the “hidden” benefits of online dating is that it allows you to critically examine what you want out of life (not just out of a potential relationship) in a way you haven’t done before.

7. Online dating helps you meet potential partners rapidly so that you can quickly determine whether or not there is any compatibility. Initial contacts may be through online chats and messaging exchanges, which help you get to know your potential date.

8. Online dating offers you access to potential mates that you would be unlikely to meet through other avenues.

9. When you look for that special someone online, you are able to be yourself, to relax more, and not feel so pressured to impress the other person. You can just be you.

10. With online dating, you get to know the “real” person. Once you have chatted with someone online for a while, you begin to know that person, how he or she feels and thinks, and what makes him or her happy or sad.

So if you’re tired of being single and isolated, consider joining a dating site soon (or how about now?!). But before you do, understand this:

In romantic relationships, many of us are somehow convinced that one particular individual (yet to be discovered) will make us completely happy. This is a myth! The modern idea of romance, the idea that one “special person” is out there, that there is a perfect match waiting for you, is simply bullshit. There is not one specific individual for which everything should be given up so that you can have a “happily ever after.” So, forget about it. Get online and start looking over all the available matches, pick on, then see how it goes. If it doesn’t work, simply go on to pick #2, then #3, and so on. Eventually you will find someone who will be just fine as they are (which won’t be perfect, but that’s O.K.).

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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