Aspergers Teen Talks About "Anxiety-Reduction"

Social Story for Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

Daniel, a teenager with High-Functioning Autism, talks about how he reduces his anxiety symptoms:



Daniel's technique for reducing stress: 

To reduce my anxiety, I set aside a period of about 20 minutes each day to devote to relaxation. I remove distractions as much as possible. For example, I turn off the sound on my computer and the ringer on my cell phone.

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

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