Stimming: Stress-relief and/or distraction?

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Blue Jay
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06 Mar 2013, 9:33 am

I've noticed some rather interesting facts about stimming, and wonder if any of you made similar observations.

For me, there seem to be two different categories of stimming. The first kind seems to be rather uncommon for me (or probably goes by unnoticed). The subconscious stimming, in stressful or frustrating situations. I've caught myself running my hands through my hair, for example.

The second kind seems to be a lot more conscious and active, with a strong urge for stimming.
It happens when I got nothing to focus on, or if I'm waiting for something. Usually includes walking a few steps, wringing my hands or cracking the knuckles. If I had to describe why I'm doing, probably because I need to give my hands something to do.
There's a couple of things that turned out to be helpful with that, like wearing a backpack and a mobile phone. Always something to grab and focus on. There used to be other, less subtle mannerisms and habits in the second category, but I got rid of most of them.

So, how do you experience stimming? Do you have any similar tricks or more subtle ways to scratch that itch?



Callista
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06 Mar 2013, 10:00 am

It just seems to help me think, that's all. Some of my best studying has been done while pacing, rocking, jiggling legs and flapping hands... Dunno how it works, but if it works that's good enough for me!


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Deinonychus
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06 Mar 2013, 11:16 am

For me it is conscious but automatic. Or it starts out with me not concious of it, then I realize that I am. It is more intense, bigger or faster movements when stressed and/or in big crowds.(and/or because while I am usually stressed in big crowds this is not always true.) when calmly thinking by myself the movements are slower and smaller. I think they help me cope with stress and chaos(when in stressful and/or crowded situations) and help me focus when thinking.

Other times, when in a crowd in which socializing is expected, I might walk around( walk to bathroom, to where there is something to drink, walk by the walls etc... not the same as pacing but kind of the same idea) because I don't know how to approach people to converse, and i feel that walking around appears more normal than standing in one spot staring( I could be wrong on this) if I have something to do,ex eat a meal, listen to a speech, talk with someone I am comfortable with, I do not do this. To me this is different than stimming when stressed or thinking, and is more social awkwardness.



theWanderer
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06 Mar 2013, 12:27 pm

When I stim, there are one of three reasons. One, I'm trying to blow off stress. Two, I'm bored and trying to distract myself. Three, I'm trying to think and in an odd way, it can actually help me concentrate, or, more accurately, to focus on the stimming and shut out other, disruptive, distractions.


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