Proof Positive is on a mission to make the science and skills of wellbeing accessible to all – including the autism community. Happiness and wellbeing are experienced uniquely by every person – and we want to celebrate all that brings happiness to our Autism Wellbeing Alliance community. Our Wellbeing Wednesdays elevate the voices of autistic people to highlight diverse experiences of flourishing.

Proof Positive had a chance to hear from Tal Anderson, autistic storyteller, actor, and advocate for change, about what wellbeing means to her and the practices she does to enhance her wellbeing. Here’s what she told us:

What does wellbeing mean to you? 

For me, wellbeing is happiness. When I start to feel down, I know that I’m not doing the things in my life that create happiness for me, and it usually comes down to balance—because even when I’m doing something I love to do…  I realize that I need to take a break and do some of the other things that bring me joy to keep my mood leveled out.

What are some of the things/practices you do to enhance your wellbeing? 

I’m a huge fan of film, and a giant horror fan. Watching a horror film, especially an old slasher movie, can really make me forget about everything around me, and I’m able to escape completely for a couple of hours. I also spend a lot of time with my cat, Winnie, who I love like a child. Taking care of another living thing is a great way to stop focusing on yourself, and the love you get back from a pet is so rewarding.

As a more serious strategy for enhancing my wellbeing, though, I try to incorporate healthy practices into my daily life, and I try to do things on a schedule. I try to eat healthy, cutting out a lot of the things that weigh me down, like dairy and carbs, and I make sure to eat 3 healthy meals every day. I also work out every day (or try to), because exercise is a great way to improve my physical and mental health long-term. I go out on hikes and walks, and I really love the weather in SoCal, but I tend to be a homebody mostly, so most of the time I work out at home with my Studio Mirror. I love using it because I can’t make excuses about exercising anymore!

Other than those things, I stay happy by pursuing my passions, training with my coaches, making films, and writing.  

What feelings, emotions, or benefits do you get when you prioritize your wellbeing?

When I incorporate all of these things into my day along with my work, I feel healthy, balanced, and happy. It also makes me feel like I’m in control of my life, which is great, because I felt the opposite for most of my childhood. Now I feel on-track, and good about the things I’m doing for myself. There are times when work or chaos tries to take hold of my life, but remembering my schedule, and sticking to healthy living choices helps me manage it.  Plus, if I get really stressed, Winnie is always there to make me feel better.

Interested in sharing what wellbeing means to you? Submit your response on the Wellbeing Wednesday Form!

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