How many of us experience too much stress and anxiety? Certainly children and adults with Aspergers Syndrome, NLD and related problems, since every day is an ongoing stream of new challenges. Even those not faced with autistic spectrum disorders often confront stressful work and family situations. This stress limits our ability to think clearly, to react calmly and to be effective.
Many scientific studies have shown that stress causes physical change in your body; it's not "all in your mind." Your body has a physical reaction to stress whether you're actually faced with the stressful situation or even just THINKING about it. Most of us spend a large amount of our time dwelling on what's happened or worrying about what's going to happen, so many of us have chronic stress. Physical symptoms of chronic stress include everything from poor concentration, headaches, stomachaches and sleep problems to lowered immune systems and even infertility.
There are scientifically proven tools to deal with stress that actually heal these changes in your body. They are free, readily available and easy to use. The most simple techniques are relaxation and meditation. These techniques teach your body to undo the chronic stress reaction: you learn to be in the present moment and to let go of your thoughts. After consistent practice, all you need to do is a minute of these techniques and your body will relax. In time, you'll become more stress-resistant.
There are many ways to meditate. All you need to do is breathe, focus on something and return to that focus when you start thinking. You can't mess it up - we all start thinking. What's important is to let the thoughts go when you're aware of them. Your focus can be muscle relaxation, repeating a phrase or word, counting, visualization, being aware of your breath, being aware of sounds or feelings in your body, listening to music, walking, yoga, tai chi.. pretty much anything that works. CDs and apps for practicing relaxation or meditation are easy to come by online or in app stores.
Once you're used to relaxation/meditation, you can practice it anywhere. Think about it - something proven to reduce your stress and heal your body that's free, portable and has no side effects. Not bad.
I'll talk about other techniques in my next blog.