• Understanding Autism from the Inside

    “Academics came easily to me. The rest of life—not so much.”

Autism and our Environment; The Importance of “feeling” Happy

A few weeks ago I wrote a series of articles for answers.com about the Psychology of Color and Autism, which sparked my interest. For those of you who do not know what comes next…a sparked interest means RESEARCH! Yay, one of my favorite things in the world to do, but of course, it consumes my every waking hour and thoughts.

Earlier this year I set out to change the look of my house (environment) because I feel cramped, uncomfortable, angry, and constantly frustrated. My environment affects me profoundly, which is why I started to change all the colors of my rooms.

While writing the color articles I stumbled upon the Chinese art and science of Feng Shui, and since have read six Feng Shui books. It is very interesting both in theory and application. The best definition I found (coincidentally, the one that peaked my interest in the subject) was that Feng Shui is the study of how the environment affects the people living within it. Ears perked up!

I am not a believer in luck. I believe that luck is when preparation meets opportunity.  Therefore, we can all make our own luck. So many of the folklore that I read about I have dismissed. What does stick with me about this study of the environment is that what we see, hear, smell, in our homes/offices etc. affects how we feel. This is true for all of us with or without autism, but I think for those of us on the spectrum, especially those of us on the super-sensitive side, the affects are dramatically increased.

A pleasant smell is calming, a beautiful sparkly crystal shining rainbows on my wall (I hung one in my window this weekend) creates feelings of instant happiness.  Conversely, when I look around at piles of clutter and mess that I have no place for, I am instantly frustrated and upset. The environment can literally wreak havoc on my emotions. I can go from those ecstatic feelings of happiness, to instant despair by just walking from the bedroom to the laundry room!  It can make me feel like a crazy person.

Feeling happy is calming; Feeling Unhappy can cause a meltdown!

Because of my permanent thinking, I always feel like my current emotional state is a forever state, which can be disorienting when it changes so quickly. When I am feeling happy, I can be productive and hopeful. So my goal is to increase these happy feelings while trying to decrease all the others.  Sounds simple doesn’t it?

All I need to do is ensure that the sun keeps shining everyday (clouds make me feel depressed) and sit by my window watching sun catchers make rainbows dance around the room.  Easy peasy, as long as I can control the universe, and never turn around and look at the pile of laundry that is waiting to be done!

 

Have you noticed how your environment affects you?

 

READ: Sunshine and the Aspie: When the Weather Affects Our Neurology

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert , contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, three of which are on the autism spectrum.
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    Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed

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