Self-help exercises to help older children manage worry and anxiety

managing anxietyAge range:

Ages 9+

Description:

An engaging, self-help guide based on cognitive behavioural therapy that teaches young people mindfulness techniques to alleviate their worry and anxiety.  Strategies include ways to shift your attention away from your worry, not to fall into a debate with it, and learning to accept rather than fight your anxiety when it is present.

Click here to download the resource

This extract is taken from bestselling author Dawn Huebner’s new book, Outsmarting Worry: An Older Kid’s Guide to Managing Anxiety.  Written in language immediately accessible to children, it teaches young people, and the adults who care about them, specific skills that make it easier to face and overcome their worries and fears. 

The Way of the Hermit – an interview with Mario I. Aguilar

 

 

Mario I. Aguilar is Professor of Religion & Politics and Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion & Politics at the University of St Andrews. He is also a poet, an eremitic Camaldolese Benedictine Oblate, and has published widely in his interests in the theology of contemplation, the history of religion and issues of interfaith dialogue. We asked him some questions about his new book – The Way of the Hermit – and his life as a hermit. 

 

A hermit’s lifestyle is one of solitude and seclusion from society. When and why did you decide to become a hermit?

As I mentioned in the opening of my book I always wanted to be a hermit. However, this wish had to wait for years as I was a missionary in Africa and then started an academic career. To become a hermit or a monk requires a long process of discernment and this process was carried out over a period of twenty years with the informal support of different spiritual directors. I would say that the decision was taken when Cardinal O’Brien encouraged me to follow this different path within the archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. The hermitage and the daily routines developed out of an ongoing prayer life rather than out of an institutional setting. This was seven years ago in Scotland and then I opened a hermitage in Chile.

Some people might find it surprising that you are a professor of religion and a political activist, as well as a hermit. How do you balance these two different sides of your life?

There is only one single life in every human being, thus a hermit relies on a discipline of life where the day is marked by several activities. The life of a hermit, in my case in the Benedictine tradition, starts very early (3.45am) with meditation and silence until it is time to start the university day. During the day, I extend that prayer to those whom I teach and my fellow researchers. Political activism happens naturally because it is an extension of God’s action in the world, a world that should live more deeply justice, peace and understanding. I return to the hermitage happy to be left with God but with reports to be written on behalf of asylum seekers, correspondence, and my own academic studies currently related to India and Tibet.

Your book, The Way of the Hermit, documents your conversations with hermits in Scotland, Chile and India. Did the lives of these fellow pilgrims seem similar or different to your own, and in what ways?

The lives and hopes of all human beings are very similar as the Dalai Lama would reiterate. Thus, I have found a deep communion and friendship with others who seek the Absolute in India and Chile. Particularly in India I have met over the years Buddhist monks, Hindu Sadhus and Sikh scholars with whom we have shared not intellectual thoughts but our very souls, eating together, chanting, and laughing about the joys of being together. I must confess that I have found that many people who live a religious commitment tend to be sad, I do not understand that. On returning to see others at the Golden Temple or in the bathing areas of Varanasi I have always found a warm hand and a ready smile. God has given us a journey and it is great to do it with others even when in silence.

The book explores how living a life of silence and contemplation can contribute to interfaith dialogue. Could you explain how this is so?

The Western world uses too many words, too many texts and too many twitters. We try to understand something to accept its relevance. In silence the quarrels disappear because in silence and contemplation we cannot run away from who we are: human beings on a journey. The many dialogues between faith practitioners in conferences and formal meetings are very fruitful indeed. However, I have found a deeper dialogue sitting in silence with Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Sikhs because it is that very silence that binds us. I cannot speak Punjabi or Hindi but I can understand our common language of silence, reverence and devotion.

What have been the toughest challenges you’ve faced while living an eremitic lifestyle?

It has always been the challenges from outsiders who want a writer and a monk to become a small celebrity. I have had to clarify many times that hermits do not need other hermits to carry on their lives and that I do not have meditation classes in my hermitage. The keeping of a daily structure and discipline gets interrupted sometimes but I return to read the lives of hermits I admire and that set a very clear example for me: Abishiktananda, Bede Griffiths, Raimon Panikkar, and those sadhus without name who have inspired me in India over many years.

Do you have any advice for readers who would like to apply eremitic practises to their own lives?

Set a small routine of prayer and meditation for your daily life, start and keep to it. Do not read about it, or talk too much about it, just do it! And the Absolute will be waiting for you.

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Who takes care of the caregiver?

Shake up your view of your demanding and relentless work so that you can start to put yourself at the centre of your caregiving work. Cheryl Rezek, author of Mindfulness for Carers, has written an incredibly honest blog on why it’s important to say ‘no’, putting yourself first, and being mindful of your emotions as a carer.

Rezek-MindfulnessForCarers-C2W

Taking care of someone else = neglecting to take care of yourself.  Does this ring true for you?  A carer or caregiver is often prone to using all their time, energy and resources giving the person or persons the attention and support that is needed.  However, the danger that can arise is that the caring is only working in one direction.

This blog isn’t about patting you on the back, telling you that you really ought to get some rest or saying what a great job you are doing.  You know all these things already.  You should be patting yourself on the back for all that you do as well as making sure that you get enough sleep and keep your stress levels down.  The chances are you don’t do any of those things or the rest of the long list that could be tagged onto that one.  This blog is about shaking up your view of your demanding and relentless work so that you can start to put yourself at the centre of your caregiving work.

Possibly one of the most difficult issues with being a caregiver is setting boundaries.  To do this can set in motion a whole range of emotions and fears – I’m being selfish; I don’t need help; what if something happens when I’m resting or out?; how will the person manage without me?  These responses are common and, at times, come about for good reason.  To say No to someone, in any form, may seem like a mean, uncaring or unrealistic thing to do but this is not always the case.  On occasions, the caregiver’s anxieties and fears are greater than those coming from the person being cared for.  We often don’t want to admit, or even acknowledge, that our anxiety may be what is driving us to be overstretched rather than only the needs or demands of the situation.  Perhaps there are occasions when you could go out or ask someone else to take your place for a short time but you may be reluctant to do this.  Why?  What is the concern behind this?  Do you think you’ll be criticised?  Have you lost touch with so many of your friends that you don’t actually have anyone to go out with?  Is it easier being the round-the-clock caregiver than having to deal with some other issue in your life?  Does your position give you power in the family or at work that isn’t allowed to be questioned?  Does your role give you a strong sense of identity that you may not otherwise feel?  As a professional, are you needing to present in a certain way to your colleagues or do you perhaps enjoy the energy and status that may accompany the demands of the job?  These are important questions to ask yourself as without some answers you will struggle to find a place for yourself.  With all the good that is done by being the generous and attentive caregiver, it can also work against you.

Most carers don’t set out to be in that role, unless by choosing a career in it.  The vast majority of family carers are doing it because of circumstance, often thrust upon them in some harsh way.  The choices here are dramatically reduced but, in spite of that, you still have a choice about how you take care of yourself as well as the other person.

There are evident differences between being a family caregiver and a professional person who is in a helping profession.  Family carers or foster carers feel an enormous responsibility for the wellbeing, comfort and survival of their relative or foster child.  Needless to say, professional caregivers such as nurses, doctors, social workers, therapists and health assistant also feel such a sense of responsibility but there is an inevitable difference as the family ties, bonds and history aren’t there, and while loss may be felt, sometimes deeply, it is not felt in the same way or with the same level of intensity.  Professional carers go home at the end of the day, or shift, and if they don’t they ought to.

It is important to also raise the issue of being a family carer for someone with whom one does not have a good or loving relationship.  This situation is more common than most people would like to admit but the other person’s vulnerability makes it very difficult to say no or to set limits.  Caring out of a sense of duty or obligation can lead to resentment and distress.

Caregivers come in many shapes and forms and people are in those roles for as many different reasons – a parent to a sick or disabled child, a special education teacher, a hospice worker, an adult child of elderly or ill parents, a partner of chronically ill or terminal husband or wife, a young child of an ill parent, a foster carer, a medical doctor, a community nurse, a health assistant in a mental health unit, a social worker, a carer of younger siblings.  The list is endless but the demands and stress frequently similar.

The big question is how you take care of yourself and if you don’t, why not?  Burnout and fatigue can lead to physical and mental health issues.  These are damaging and you then run the risk of making mistakes, becoming unwell and, at worst, needing to be taken care of yourself.

Mindfulness is a gentle, accessible and nourishing way of reducing caregiver’s stress and increasing their wellbeing and attention.  Research has also shown how those being cared for by people using mindfulness benefit from their carers being more present and open to them.

We are human and no matter how resilient we believe we are, how physically strong we show ourselves to be or how psychologically grounded we say we are, we are still human and being human implies that we have thresholds of tolerance.  It’s not about breaking or collapsing in a heap but far more about recognising that as a caregiver you need to take care of yourself as well as the other person.

Dr Cheryl Rezek is a consultant clinical psychologist and mindfulness teacher who brings a fresh and novel approach to how mindfulness and psychological concepts can be integrated into everyone’s life as a way of managing it in the most helpful way.  She has a longstanding clinical and academic career as well as runs workshops and authors books.  You can find out more about Mindfulness for Carers, read reviews or order your copy here.

 

Vipassana Retreat – a brand new article from the author of Mindful Living with Asperger’s Syndrome

Woodland Sunrise

Vipassana Retreat

When trying to make sense of the social world as a person diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome I have often found myself learning social skills through observing those around me, especially non-verbal gestures such as facial expressions and eye contact. This can often leave little scope for exploring one’s own emotions and feelings, such as being able to notice how they arise and pass and where they take control over one’s actions. Stepping back from the flow on a ten-day Vipassana retreat enabled me to get in touch with this.

One of the purposes of ‘Vipassana’ (which means to ‘see things as they really are’ in the Pali language) is to help those who practice the technique to experience themselves as they are and experience sensations as they occur. By sensations I refer to anything experienced at the physical level, both those that arise from internal bodily feeling and those that arise from external factors, such as the surrounding temperature or the materials of the clothing one is wearing. A mixture of sensations occurs throughout the body constantly, but due to the many distractions around us we are often oblivious to them and how they can determine our thoughts and actions.

Observed in noble silence for ten days with no verbal communication, no non-verbal gestures or signals and no contact with the outside world, a Vipassana retreat provides a distraction-free environment in which one can get more in touch with oneself and be able to observe the comings and goings of thoughts and feelings, including different degrees of Asperger-related obsession with thoughts. As a person with Asperger’s Syndrome what I found so helpful about there being no non-verbal communication was that I find trying to interpret a lot of non-verbal gestures (including understanding how other people feel about me) very confusing, which can then become a source of worry and anxiety, especially if I feel someone is giving me the ‘silent’ treatment. But during the retreat, being aware of the absence of non-verbal communication helped reduce a great deal of this worry, thus giving me more freedom to explore and understand the workings of my own mind.

During the first four days of the retreat participants are instructed to focus on the breath coming in and out around a triangular area from the tip of the nose to the upper lip, one gradually begins to notice a range of physical sensations that arise and pass around this limited area. Participants are encouraged to observe different sensory experiences as they occur rather than create sensations that we find comforting, allowing each breath coming in and out to be as it is naturally and each physical sensation to arise and pass as naturally as possible. On the fourth day one is then instructed to gradually expand awareness throughout the body, scanning through the body slowly starting from the top of the head.

Participants practice this technique for up to ten hours a day throughout the retreat, including three hour-long sittings of serious determination where one shouldn’t make any major movements to their posture or open their eyes unless absolutely necessary. This is so that as well as noticing different sensations or any urges to move, (such as averse sensations around the knee joints when sitting) one is able to observe their response rather than acting on it and acknowledge that sensations, both pleasant and painful are impermanent and subject to change.

Where I find Asperger’s Syndrome can be a strength during practice is through applying attention to detail and being able to notice sensations very closely. Sometimes, due to sensory preferences, the mind can end up being controlled by sensations that can lead to one becoming controlled by obsessive thought. With continued practice and patience, I found  that I was able to exert more control over my mind, including Asperger-related tendencies and obsessions, rather than allowing them to control me. Thanks to this I noticed that each night I was going to sleep much quicker than normal. I felt I was able to notice sensations on a deeper level, including blood flow and vibrations throughout my body coming from my heart beating. Normally, my mind distracts me from going to sleep.

I came home from the retreat thinking that although our physical make-up takes up a limited physical space it has a huge degree of variation with regards to what it is made up of in both a spiritual sense (with the five elements, earth, water, wood, fire) and in a scientific sense. Atoms and particles (the source of most physical sensations) are a constant in our make-up and we are unaware of how much they are influencing our thoughts and actions and how they trigger habits and obsessions. With awareness developed from patience and practice one can eventually exert more control over the mind, and thus more freedom from mental constraint, including anxiety and depression.

On my return to the outside world I noticed just how dependent we can be on external factors for happiness and self-esteem because we aren’t often in tune with how we are within. Turning our mirror neurons towards us enables us to see who we are as we are in the present, rather than being constrained by the need for outside approval. In turn, being happy in this way reflects well on those around us.

 

Chris Mitchell is the author of Mindful Living with Asperger’s Syndrome and Asperger’s Syndrome and Mindfulness both published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers

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Small steps – Mindful walking with robots

From using ancient techniques to cross inhospitable terrain to walking with a highly sophisticated robot,  Chris Mitchell, the author of Mindful Living with Asperger’s Syndrome reflects on the many kinds of mindful walking.Chris Mitchell with Robot photo Edited

When new to meditation and mindfulness practice, an initial image that we may have of meditation is of a figure sitting cross-legged with their eyes closed. Understandably, a person with Asperger’s Syndrome who engages in repetitive movement as a way of coping with anxiety and finds sitting still for an extended period of time difficult may be put off seeking mindfulness practice from this mindset. As well as sitting, the Buddha also taught three other meditation postures; standing, reclining and walking. Many people who have found sitting meditation difficult take surprisingly well to walking meditation.

Though we do a lot of walking in normal day-to-day life, we may forget that much of our walking is done on autopilot, within the routine of our comfort zone. When we step outside the routine of our comfort zone into different environments, including when stepping onto different surfaces, or when walking with someone, we notice how little attention we usually pay to sensations that come with each step when we walk on autopilot. This is especially brought to our attention when you are walking with someone who has very tiny footsteps!

At the 2014 NAS professionals Conference, as well as give a seminar on Mindfulness Techniques and Asperger’s Syndrome, including some of the exercises described in Mindful Living with Asperger’s Syndrome, I also got to practice mindfulness of walking with a new friend, Mickey the Robot. Designed to help children with autism in both special and mainstream schools to develop empathy and build on their social skills, NAO Robots, designed by Aldebaran Robotics, are able to respond to human speech and movements and even have the ability to laugh. The first thing that Mickey asks you is: ‘What do you want me to do?’ He then asked me if I would like to go for a walk with him!

Mickey shows he is able to interact in a tactile way when he puts his arm up for you to hold his hand and begins to walk. Noticing that you are walking with him, he then reminds you that he only has very tiny footsteps and that if he has to walk too quick he may fall over! Becoming aware of this, I began to pay more attention to the speed and sensations of my own footsteps, stepping as short and as slowly as I could. When walking with Mickey, as well as being more aware of my footsteps, I also felt I began to feel empathy with him, just by being conscious of his walking needs and not wanting him to fall over!Chris Mitchell Walking with Robots photo

After the conference, it was then my turn to fall over numerous times with a trip to Tromso in northern Norway, north of the Arctic Circle. Leaving behind mild weather in the UK, when I arrived north of the Arctic Circle, I noticed that I was in habitual walking mode when I slipped and fell on an icy surface. Walking on different surfaces, especially ice or snow, often require different techniques of walking to cross, not only when going up and down inclines but also on flat gradients. Though it helps having the appropriate footwear, one also has to be more aware not only of the sensations of their footsteps but also of their centre of gravity, which helps keep us upright, something which we are not normally aware of when walking habitually. In the Chinese legend Journey to the West (known as Monkey in most English-speaking countries), about the journey of the monk Xuan Zang from China to India to retrieve and translate Buddhist scriptures across mountainous terrain, part of his journey involves walking across clouds from one mountain to another. Though he is given special cloud-treading boots for this part of the journey, he has to be able to master their use before embarking on his endeavour. This involves being with each step and noticing where he places each step so that he doesn’t fall through the clouds.

Similarly, in Norway’s Lyngen Alps, I took to cross-country skiing to cross a snow-covered route. Unlike downhill skiing, cross-country skiing involves a lot more walking, with the boots being more flexible and only fastened to the skis at the front. The skis help one move across the snow, but one also has to get used to a different technique of walking than the habitual walking we do in day-to-day life, being aware for the first few yards in front of you, including the hardness of softness of the snow you are stepping on. When going uphill, one finds themselves more in tune with pressure from sensations from the strength required to go up the hill. When going downhill, because there is often a feeling of relief, one can find themselves in a false sense of security when it becomes difficult to control your speed, having to bend knees to slow down.Mindful Walking with Robots mountain pic edited

Just because I practice mindfulness, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I am mindful in each and every moment of my life. Like all human beings, I am just as capable slipping out of mindfulness into habitual thought and movement. Where in fact mindfulness is in noticing when your mind wanders and you fall into habitual movements, including on our walking, sitting, standing and reclining postures.

Mindful Living with Asperger’s Syndrome by Chris Mitchell was published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers in 2013.

Sensory-scape Mindfulness

DSCN0440Chris Mitchell author of the new book Mindful Living with Asperger’s Syndrome reflects on how mindfulness practices can help individuals with Asperger Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) overcome anxieties and sensory issues.

One of the purposes of mindfulness practice is to tune one into the present moment, this includes taking note of sensations that are arising and fading with us constantly that we may rarely notice. By tuning into sensations deeper than those that we experience in daily life and using all of our sensory channels, sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, to notice the sensations all around us, we become more present in the moment. This can be particularly helpful to people with Asperger Syndrome who may have sensory difficulties as it helps them to open up to their concerns and anxieties.

Sensory difficulties in different people on the autistic spectrum vary dramatically from the excessive to the very mild, as do individual abilities to cope with them. Some may experience excessive reactions, including physical pain and nausea, while others may make an effort to avoid situations where they feel that they are likely to experience sensory overload. This avoidance approach can unintentionally create high-level anxiety through worrying about possible sensory experiences they may encounter in daily life that may cause problems. From this a ‘sensory bubble’ can build up around a person with Asperger’s Syndrome. In reality, sensory experiences rarely happen in isolation so its often difficult to notice as and when they occur.  For example,  when you’re on autopilot, you may only be tuned into one or two of your sensory channels so it’s easy to become oblivious to sensations picked up by your other sensory channels that are occurring at the same time.

DSCN0454Step outside your ‘sensory bubble’

A visit to an active geyser is a good example of how different sensory experiences happen as a  whole rather than separately. More than simply the sight of seeing the geyser erupt, other senses are also affected.  From the smells of minerals in the rocks, such as sulphur, to the sounds of bubbling water  and the gushing sound made by the eruption as well as the sight of the eruption itself. This is a sensory experience that uses every human sense. The colours of the rocks and feel of the water are all a part of this experience; the yellow of the sulphur, the red of the iron and the bright blue of the hydrogen visible in the water all as well as the touch of water in a shower after an eruption! By opening to our senses as they are affected in this way, it can add to the quality of the experience.

DSCN0451However, to get in touch with your sensory channels, you doesn’t have to go out of your way to visit a geyser.  It is possible to open up to all your senses in just about all aspects of daily life. This may be washing the dishes or brushing your teeth or it may even involve your special interest or Asperger related pastime. An example from my own interests I am going to use is stargazing.  When observing the skies away from the excesses of light pollution, with patience, your eyes slowly adapt to the dark sky and on a clear night, you may notice more stars than what may be apparent to us when habitually glancing at the sky. If you are observant enough, you may even be able to see the colour in some stars and, over a period of a few days to a few months, the changes in brightness in variable stars, most famously Algol in the constellation of Perseus. This is where your sensory experience can deepen and may help you take your improved sensory noticing into  your daily life.

Everyday practices to help engage senses

Two more much more easily accessible exercises where mindfulness can be practiced in a sensory way include eating, (to help open up to taste that we may miss out on) and listening to sounds (opening up to sounds that are around us but that we may be habitually oblivious to). When eating, it’s easy to fall into the habit of digesting our food so quickly that we miss out on its taste and are not present in the  moment. An exercise taught on the eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course is the ‘raisin exercise’, where when eating a raisin, participants are encouraged to be with each moment of the process, starting with noticing the feel of the texture when holding the raisin in your hands and then on your lips. Then one is encouraged to start to slowly chew the raisin noticing the change on texture from dry to moist and its taste, and once digested, its after-taste.

DSCN0443A similar mindfulness exercise can be practiced to help us tune into the sounds around us. Sitting or standing in a relatively quiet place can be a good way to notice sounds that we may habitually oblivious to. But when we close our eyes for just a few minutes, we can start paying attention to sounds, you may begin to notice a whistling sounds passing through our ears. And when you open your eyes again, you  may hear different sounds that you are able to tune in to and feel within the present moment.

All of the activities listed above from experiencing a geyser eruption to quietly watching the sky at night can help with issues such as anxiety. They are of a special help to people on the autistic spectrum who may have difficulty with sensory issues.  By opening up our senses and embracing all that happens around us we are able to overcome our challenges rather than becoming constrained by them.

Chris Mitchell is the author of new book Mindful Living with Asperger’s Syndrome and Asperger’s Syndrome and Mindfulness both published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Applying Mindfulness to the Strengths and Qualities of Asperger’s Syndrome

Moeraki Boulders

Chris Mitchell author of the new book Mindful Living with Asperger’s Syndrome reflects on how mindfulness practices can help individuals with Asperger Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) recognise their strengths.

Mindfulness techniques, including meditation and yoga stretches, are known to yield great benefits to those who experience depression and anxiety, including people diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Far from being confined to guided structured practices done behind closed doors, mindfulness is accessible and can be practiced and applied in ordinary life situations. The strengths and qualities of Asperger’s Syndrome can aid the application of mindfulness to enhance the quality of life.

The concept of mindfulness is the art of paying non-judgemental attention to the present moment. Two aspects of mindfulness practice that I like, and that I have found conducive to my needs as a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, are its simplicity and its flexibility. Its simplicity makes it accessible while its flexibility allows both the practice and application of mindfulness to be shaped around individual needs. Guided mindfulness practice sessions are a good start in developing and experiencing mindful awareness, including an understanding of how you are affected by Asperger’s Syndrome.

Reflections on Mekong

n presents. Certain strengths and qualities can be conAs well as noticing Asperger-related traits, obsessions and triggers when stepping back from the pace of everyday life during practices, the practice environment can also give a person with Asperger’s syndrome a place to gain a stronger understanding of who they are, including the ability to notice the strengths and qualities that their conditioducive to applying mindfulness into situations beyond practice, as well as to acknowledge weaknesses while not being constrained by them.

Living with Asperger’s Syndrome has many ups and downs, from feelings of confidence and optimism to low self-esteem and depression. Obsessive-compulsive tendencies may mean that one finds that they are trapped within such feelings, but applying some Asperger’s Syndrome strengths can also enable one to be present with these feelings. A personal strength that I feel I have, which has helped during my mindfulness exercises, is my attention to detail. I am able to notice different positive and negative feelings as they arise and am able to notice what attention I may give to them.

Gradually, in my life beyond practice, I have found that strong attention to detail has helped me to be more attentive to the present moment. I feel that this has enabled me to experience the fullness of the present moment in a way that also lets me to be at one with who I am as a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, where I happen to be and the circumstances that I’m in.

When tuned into the present moment through mindfulness, it can help one recognise Asperger traits, including obsessive-compulsive tendencies, worries and anxieties with more clarity. It can give you the control as to how to act or respond to them.  Focussing our feelings on the present moment is a starting point, but as well as simply giving our feelings attention, we must also understand that it’s the kind of attention we choose to pay to these thoughts and feelings that can affect our mood and actions.

Viedma Glacier

In addition to mindful attention to detail, other strengths that Asperger’s Syndrome may reveal, include curiosity, persistence and high-levels of concentration – all of which can help with applying mindfulness to the present.  Curiosity lets you open up to such feelings rather than be constrained by them or become frustrated by trying to eliminate feelings, especially those that are negative. Persistence is needed to overcome periods of depression or low self-esteem and together with an open, curious, approach to being with each moment of such a period, enables us to gain a stronger understanding of who we are, including how our emotions affect us.

As well as being aware of and being able to acknowledge any shortcomings that we may have, mindfulness, when applied with the strengths and qualities of Asperger’s Syndrome, it   can also allow us to open up to the fullness of the present moment, thus enriching our lives.

Chris Mitchell is the author of new book Mindful Living with Asperger’s Syndrome and Asperger’s Syndrome and Mindfulness both published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.