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How to Create Joy While Autistic

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This piece was originally published by Geek Club Books. As a group, autistics have learned not to prioritize our personal joy, and that stinks. We are constantly being told that what gives us joy is ‘weird’, ‘bad’, and even ‘wrong’. I am here to tell you that not only is that A GIANT LIE, but it’s also way past time for us to reclaim our right to joy.

Like all human beings, it is essential to our wellness that we experience our version of joy. Maybe that comes from mastering a new language or creating a brilliant bit of code. Perhaps it’s the result of freely stimming to your favorite song or hyper-focusing on a new special interest. Regardless of how ‘odd’ the source, you deserve to experience joy in its purest form as much as the next human. Moreover, your mind and body NEED joy to function at their best. That’s right, YOU NEED JOY.

As you begin to reclaim your joy, please remember that the goal isn’t to create enough joy to push the sadness away, but rather to create more joy in order to offset the sadness. Afterall, joy cannot exist without sadness. In fact, you must experience the depth of sadness in order to feel the lightness of joy. The trick to creating joy is to use a ton of your energy to create it, instead of focusing any energy on the impossible task of eliminating sadness. Think of the goal as creating enough joy to balance out life’s inherent sadness. If more sadness arrives, simply create the joy you need to counter-balance it.

Creating joy does not have to be difficult, but reclaiming can it be. If you are ready for more joy in your life, here are some tips to get you going:

  • Challenge Yourself:

Nothing creates joy like a good success. Set yourself up for that joyful feeling of accomplishment by taking on a new project, skill, or hobby. It helps if it’s something you have wanted to do a for long time but keep finding excuses not to. Those are some joyful wins. When we challenge ourselves and succeed, we find joy.

  • Actively Seek Inspiration:

Looking for joy but it just isn’t happening? No worries. It’s just time to seek some inspiration for that joy. Seek out activities that are known to elicit joy, like going out into nature or meditating. Pursue that which stretches your perception and challenges your perspective. When we are most inspired, we find joy.

  • Play More:

It’s time to go in search of your inner child. Remember eight year old you? The one who loved jumping in puddles in a thunderstorm and getting dirty in the garden? No? Okay, that was me, but you have your own version of eight year old you and that kid knew how to play. Time to dig out those old special interests, let go, and play. When we play freely, we find joy.

  • Nurture Yourself:

When you take the time to focus on our own needs, joy comes more easily. Set up time to get away from the ‘noise of life’ and do something just for you. Whether it’s a walk in the woods, or a long nap, do it! This is the stuff that recharges us and leaves us open to experience happiness. When we make it our job to take of ourselves, we find joy.

It’s time to get out there and reclaim your joy. Seriously…stop reading about it, and go create your joy!

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