Daniel, a teenager with High-Functioning Autism, talks about how he reduces his anxiety symptoms:
Daniel's technique for reducing stress:
During the 20-minute period, I remain as still as you can. I focus my thoughts on the immediate moment, and eliminate any outside thoughts that compete for my attention. I try to notice which parts of my body feel relaxed, and which feel tense.
As I go through these steps, I try to imagine that every muscle in my body is becoming relaxed and free of tension. I picture all the muscles in my body beginning to go loose and limp.
I concentrate on making my breathing slow and even. Each time I exhale, I picture my muscles becoming even more relaxed, as if with each breath, I breathe the tension away.
At the end of 20 minutes, I take a few moments to focus on the feelings and sensations I have been able to achieve. I notice whether areas that felt tense now feel looser, and whether any areas of tightness remain.
Some Aspies find that repeating a word or phrase, or singing, praying, or focusing their vision on an object or flickering light source (like a candle or fireplace) helps them achieve a more relaxed state of mind.
If you try this relaxation technique I just described, don't be surprised if the relaxed feeling begins to fade once you get up and return to your normal activities. However, many Aspergers teens find that after just a few weeks of daily, consistent practice, they are able to maintain the relaxed feeling beyond the practice session.
Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management