Stress and Autism
Based on the findings in this study, distress in individuals with autism negatively impact quality of life, MORE than the characteristics of autism. And, additional studies from Research Autism have shown that stress is THE major barrier in life for people with autism; and, acquiring "stress reduction strategies is particularly important." -Research Autism.
Distress and chronic stress significantly impact people of low income and people with disabilities. The physiological impact of chronic stress (or distress) is scary and the need for healthy coping strategies and calming practices is vital.
When Stress is Good!
Not all stress is bad. This second chart shows the benefit of some stress and the impact of distress. Eustress is good in that it keeps us from boredom, apathy, "laziness," and a general state of non-growing. It helps us challenge ourselves, get out of our comfort zone, and learn about our strengths. Eustress is healthy, necessary, and empowering.
How Therapeutic Yoga Helps
Gentle, understanding supports such as therapeutic yoga allow a non-judgmental space for relaxation, healing, and change in perspective and relationship to stress, life, and to self (which are each a coping strategy and advanced skill set). Yoga itself is also a challenging practice, forcing us to observe and to be uncomfortable whether it be in a difficult pose or a silent stillness. I believe bringing this practice to those with autism is one of the most important things we can do to support the specific challenges this community faces; and, through this practice we can begin learning about how eustress and distress feel and how they differ - we can do this through poses (asana), mindfulness, and meditation (dyana and dharana, as well as the other yoga limbs) - and bring this understanding into life off the mat.
How Spectrum Yoga is Tackling Stress
Spectrum Yoga is dedicated to support children with autism in this area and understand its many negative and harmful effects on this community. We address stress management in every class. Spectrum Yoga works to change each student’s relationship with stress while offering personalized strategies to reduce stress and gain control. Learning stress management at a young age is an empowering experience and therapeutic yoga provides skills for a lifetime. Check out specialized classes and/or contact us to learn more.