calming effects of pets

anonymous asked:

How does stimming work? As in, how does it help self-regulate? Is it that it shifts one's focus from unpleasant stimuli?

Stimming works in several ways. The simplest is that sometimes it is just fun. It evokes the same feelings of joy and happiness anything else that is pleasant. This generally referred to as a sensory diet - experiencing sensory input for the sake of the experience.

It can also act as a coping tool in that it is used for sensory or emotional self regulation. This works several ways, but the most common is using a stim that induces a calming effect. For example, I find that petting my stuffed fox is extremely relaxing. When I am emotionally overloaded, I can pet my stuff fox and it will have a grounding effect on me because the tactile sensation calms me down.

Another type of regulation is sensory self regulation. This is using a stim specifically to manage your sensory environment. An example of this might be that in a crowded restaurant with a lot of noise I will take my tablet out and play a game that involves a lot of tapping on the screen. The immediate tactile sensory experience of the taping occupies more of my attention than the sounds around me.

Yet another type of stimming is cognitive self regulation. This is particularly common in ADHD. Someone with hyperactive-impulsive traits might bounce their foot or leg to get rid of excess energy so they can pay attention to a lecture. An inattentive ADHD might use a fidget to take up extra cognitive processing that would otherwise focus on random things around the room (this is why I stim in class; without a constant stim to take up my processing, my brain will latch on to sounds around me and I get distracted).

There are other types of stimming, I’m sure, but these are the big ones that come to my mind as someone who is autistic and ADHD inattentive type with a few hyperactive-impulsive traits (though not enough for a combined type diagnosis).

- Sam

Alternate Uses of the Mind Palace

As aspiring deductionists, the Mind Palace, also known as the Memory Palace or Brain Attic, becomes exceedingly important. It has the potential to be useful to anyone in any walk of life, but as people training ourselves in the art of deduction, having a wealth of reference information to draw back on becomes paramount. I highly recommend this technique for anyone studying deduction. There are plenty of posts and resources on the Internet detailing the what the Mind Palace is and how to make one, but I’ve noticed how shockingly underused the Mind Palace is. Many refer to it as a Memory Palace, as I stated earlier. The truth is, this technique can be manipulated to become much more useful.

1. A calming technique 

Most of us watched the BBC version of Sherlock. He gets shot, having only seconds of consciousness left. So, doing what he could to save his own life, he fell back upon his Mind Palace. He figures out what he needs to do to save his own life, one of them being the prevention of shock. He falls back on a childhood memory of his pet dog named Redbeard, effectively calming him.

 This can be accomplished by having a specific room or section in your Palace dedicated to emotionally calming objects and locations to you. This can involve the beach, your Grandparents’ living room, your bedroom, or a completely made up room that would relax you in real life. Mentally hang pictures on your wall, add a fireplace, calming music and aromas to this room. This is immensely underrated, and could one day be incredibly important, whether you are in a life-threatening situation or are just incredibly stressed. Never underrate the necessity for a relaxation period. 

2. Visualization 

This one is rather broad, so I’ve split it into sections. All of these will progressively get more vivid and realistic as you progress. 

The Visualization of Worlds: 

This one seems sort of obvious. However, most don’t realize the potential this possesses. Most use it to visualize objects, paintings, memories, etc. However, you can go much, much further. For example, take the Sherlock Christmas special, The Abominable Bride. The majority of that episode is Sherlock’s own little world, one he completely imagines, but for a practical purpose. Through a combination of his knowledge of the case and his own imagination, he is able to construct an entire world inside his own mind. 

The Visualization of People

Besides worlds, you can also remember people. When you look at a complete mental universe, remembering and visualizing people may seem fairly obvious, but hear me out. You can remember your friends, family, inspirational characters, etc. You know how when you know a person, you can predict what they would say to certain things? You memorize their personality, the different quirks of their person, and their little habits. Using that, you can create a mental version of them in your head, and, with practice, have full conversations with them. This takes a large amount of practice and is fairly difficult to pull off. After all, this is you essentially pretending to be them, and you can’t guarantee  accuracy. This isn’t them, and you need to keep that in mind. This is your mind’s version of them, your mental interpretation.  I won’t lie, it is somewhat awkward when you first begin. This can also serve as a calming technique as well (or incredibly stressful and terrifying, depending who you visualize) This is seen in Sherlock as well, not only in the Christmas special but we also see him have a conversation with Moriarty, a mental version that he had locked up, chained, and put into a padded room. There is some psychological tells on how he views Moriarty here (many not being very obvious) but that’s a post for another day.

Originally posted by aineown

The Visualization of Complex Events and Timelines

This visualization technique can serve many purposes, as clearly shown. However, while in school, I used this to memorize events in history. In order to memorize battles, I would actually put myself there in the heat of the battle, a calm and careful ghost walking amongst the chaos. I would visit each side, the plotting of strategy, or if it was a surprise attack, the calm before the storm. I would visualize (as gruesome as it is) the blood flying. The explosions, the expressions of the soldiers, overhead view, all of it in slow motion. With waves of my hand, I pause the scene. I slow it down or speed it up. I can zoom in on particular details, for example, the marks of rank on a general. You can use this while deducing a room, a house, or a person, whether it just being a few seconds or, in Sherlock’s case, visualizing the murder, not unlike how Will Graham does in the popular TV series ‘Hannibal’.  It is important to realize that this is your head and therefore, you are God. You control time, location, and your view of the situation. Depending on what you’re using it for, practice some form of caution if you tend to be squeamish. You can imagine how it could be potentially disturbing to the mind to be able to picture (in vivid detail, the more practice you get) a murder take place. 

Originally posted by sirenja-and-the-stag

All of these techniques have the potential to be challenging, but all can be incredibly useful. They will take time to master. Some may be more difficult than others based on your own natural abilities, but do not get discouraged. Use these techniques and develop your own uses for your Mind Palace. Utilize it to it’s full potential. Remember, your Palace is limited only by your own imagination. Be creative with what you do with it.

If any of you have any alternate or creative uses for your Mind Palace, feel free to message me and I’ll either create a new post or add to this one. I’m interested to see what people have done with theirs!


1. Work to become more observant in your day to day life.

The more observant you become in real life, the more you’ll be able to visualize and picture in your Mind Palace, making it more vivid and giving you the ability to notice more. There are some very good programs and videos on how to become more observant, find them and utilize them. 

2. Practice mindfulness and concentration techniques (post on that in progress), this will give you the ability to focus in your Palace for longer periods of time. 

3. Visit your Mind Palace often and run over important info.