Repetitive behaviors are a way to relieve stress

Austin Jones

By Austin John Jones

Last time I talked about an “Over-Fascination with Certain Subjects That Everyone Else Thinks Are Dumb Or Pointless.” Another thing like that is when you do things over and over again. A lot. Getting up in the morning, taking your medication, listening to the same song over and over, repeating wacky and funny phrases to yourself over and over again. Whispering things to yourself over and over that you don’t want anyone else to hear, waving your arms around in the air like you just don’t care, pacing in circles or back and forth without end. These are just some things that I do myself that are repetitive behaviors.

You might be asking, “Why do people on the spectrum have repetitive behaviors?”

Well, for me, I can answer that pretty simply: It makes me feel good.

These behaviors are a way to relieve stress. They are a pressure outlet. I wake up every morning full of energy. You can ask my dad. He has been waking up with me for the past 26 years. And I need to get rid of that behavior or otherwise I can’t focus, or talk to anyone, or listen to people, or remember to do anything. A lot of my energy gets used doing repetitive physical actions and vocal release so I don’t tense up and lose my mind, and drive other people crazy too.

When I go to bed every night, I have dreams. And A LOT of crazy stuff happens in dreams. Stuff that isn’t even remotely possible in the real world. Hell, I have had dreams where I can SHOOT LIGHTNING FROM MY HANDS!!! And once I wake up from stuff like that, I either remember it or I don’t; but my body is either super hyped, or super slow because my brain has been exercising in dreamland all night. Not to mention all the mental and physical stress from activities I did during the day before I went to sleep. This builds up pressure in my body and brain, and causes stress that needs an escape. People on the spectrum use obsessive traits and repetitive behaviors to release that stress and also to feel more comfortable. Whenever I am nervous, I do repetitive behaviors. Whenever, I don’t know what to say or do, I use repetitive behaviors. Whenever I can’t focus, I use repetitive behaviors. Repetitive behaviors help me.

I thought it might be helpful to see what I mean by repetitive behaviors so I’ve included some videos below. I bet there are lots of other repetitive behaviors and if you’re comfortable I’d love to hear what ones you use and why so please respond in the comment section.


My name is Austin. I am an artist. I am an art teacher. I am a gamer. I am a storyteller and a writer. I love my community, I love my friends and family, and I am on the Autism Spectrum. My favorite game to play with my friends is Magic the Gathering. My favorite video game to play is Spiral Knights. I am a Guild Master of my Spiral Knights Guild: Altosk. I am an avid Hearthstone player.My favorite food to eat is Mexican Food. Specifically Carne Asada Fries and California Burritos. I went to Art Center College of Design for college and graduated with a degree in Illustration.

2 replies on “Repetitive behaviors are a way to relieve stress”
  1. says: mathead

    The thing in the last video I do all the time. I call it ‘microstimming’ 🙂

    Also hand clapping and finger snapping while repeating nonsensical words. But the latter never in public. Only in the privacy of my home while the ‘microstimming’ goes on all day.

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