Latest News » 4 stress management tips from Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin recently shared her tricks for overcoming autism-related stress with a crowd of MIT students. Photo by: Flickr user Steve Jurvetson

As a world-famous and accomplished author, animal sciences professor and subject of an award-winning HBO film, 67-year-old Temple Grandin may not live a life exactly the same as the average person with autism, but she shares their symptoms and challenges all the same. And just like the average person with autism, Grandin used to suffer from debilitating episodes of anxiety, fear and stress on a daily basis, exacerbated by a sensory overload of sights, sounds and smells — until, that is, she learned to master them.

Grandin recently spoke with Rosalind Picard, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, to share her experiences with overcoming autism-related anxieties and her tricks for managing day-to-day stresses:

  • Building friendships through hobbies: As she told the crowd of MIT students, Grandin was bullied constantly for her autism as a kid and even as an adult just starting out in her field, resulting in bouts with depression. She was able to regain her self-esteem, though, by becoming friends with people who shared her passions — her work in the electronics lab and riding horses, to name two examples.
  • Consistent sleep: "She told a group of MIT students that she planned her schedule weeks ahead in college so she wouldn't have to pull all-nighters and still tries to avoid early flights that throw off her 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. sleep schedule," the Globe writes.
  • Exercise: Grandin does 100 sit-ups every night to keep her mind sharp and some old fears at bay. Given the wealth of studies that link regular exercise with brain health and stress relief, it's no surprise that Grandin's nightly work-outs do wonders for keeping calm.
  • Take time to decompress: When in college, Grandin said the late afternoon was always her most stressed time of day. To get a handle on it, Grandin often spent these hours to chill out and watch episodes of "Star Trek" as a way of calming down.

Click here for our selection of stress support supplements.