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  • Writer's pictureKelly Tennant

A non-exhaustive but thorough list of stims

Many clients early into their neurodivergence self-discovery and unmasking journey start thinking about the ways they've always stimmed, the stims they used to do and learned to suppress, and stims they haven't explored but might enjoy. Here's a quick resource for you in getting started on exploring your own stims!


(Note: some of these may be unintentionally harmful. Please always use a harm-reduction approach when stimming to keep yourself and others safe.)


VISUAL STIMMING

• Watching the sun filter through a window

• Aligning objects

• Finding patterns on tiles (or anywhere else)

• Sorting objects by colors, shapes, or sizes

• Focusing and blurring the gaze

• Stare at one spot and blur the rest

• Using glow sticks

• Visual sensory toys

• Looking at a painting

• Watching spots of dust in the light

• Blinking rapidly

• Looking at shiny things

• Watching satisfying videos (ASMR, kittens, people cooking...)

• Staring at lights or fans

• Moving objects in front of the eyes

• Looking at things from the "corner of the eye"

• Turning lights on and off

• Watching rain fall/watching a thunderstorm


TACTILE STIMMING

• Hugging something or someone

• Petting an animal

• Touching an object to feel its texture

• Touching objects in passing (the bark of a tree, a railing, the wall...)

• Touching hair (stretching it, rolling it, tucking it behind the ear, etc.)

• Touching fingertips (with a pattern or without)

• Stroking lips with fingertips or tapping

• Biting or running tongue over lips

• Touching a sensory toy (pop it, slime...)

• Scratching your head or any other part of your body

• Clenching and unclenching fists

• Clicking or spinning pens

• Playing with jewelry (rings, bracelets)

• Wrapping/twisting fingers around fabric, t-shirt straps or other

• Bumping wrists (as if clapping)

• Pinching the tip of the nose, eyebrows, etc.

• Bumping teeth together repeatedly

• Rubbing hands against clothing or others

• Squeezing your hands or fists

• Rubbing the palms of your hands or fingers

• Playing with or twisting a rubber band or hair tie

• Playing with your fingers or hands

• Splashing hands in cold water

• Running your hand over your forehead

• Rubbing your eyes

• Rolling objects between hands

• Braiding or twisting hair

• Pretending to play an instrument

• Fingerspelling in sign language

• Breaking leaves or pieces of tree bark while walking

• Ripping paper into small pieces

• Pulling out body hair (one at a time)


OLFACTORY STIMMING

• Smelling something repeatedly

• Smelling something new

• Smelling your pets (especially freshly bathed)

• Smelling your loved ones

• Smelling essential oils or candles

• Using diffusers or incense

• Smelling freshly washed laundry

• Using bath bombs

• Smelling food


TASTE STIMMING

• Wearing chewelry

• Eating something for the feel of its texture

• Sucking on the sleeves of t-shirts

• Repeatedly eating, sucking, or slurping something

• Eating something to taste it

• Eating spicy, sour, or sweet foods

• Crunching raw pasta, ice cubes, or chips

• Eating play dough, wax, paper or other inedible things

• Sucking on your thumb or ends of your hair

• Throat clearing or coughing repeatedly

• Running tongue over teeth

• Grinding teeth

• Eating very slowly

• Eating candy, lollipops, chewing gum

• Nail biting

• Eating the skin of fingers, lips, etc.

• Biting the inside of cheeks


AUDITORY/ VERBAL STIMMING

• Listening to or singing the same song(s) on loop

• Listening to a specific part of a song on loop

• Listening to the sound of rain

• Repeating phrases from movies, TV series, mantras, catch phrases

• Repeating words

• Listen to any repetitive sound

• Grunting

• Yelling

• Whispering or mumbling

• Whistling or humming

• Putting your ear close to the speakers

• Turning on a household appliance to listen to it

• Listening to music (at a very high volume) with headphones

• Snapping your fingers

• Counting out loud

• Clicking your tongue

• Reciting something from memory (a poem, numbers...)

• Drumming

• Listening to the sound of a seashell

• Listening to nature sounds

• Beatboxing or rapping

• Making beats with my fingernails on a surface

• Snorting

• Pretending to tickle another person but with "tiki tiki tiki tiki" sounds


PROPRIOCEPTIVE/ VESTIBULAR STIMMING

• Jumping

• Jumping rope

• Using a balance board

• Shake head sideways

• Twisting and turning

• Dancing

• Walking up and down a hallway

• Flapping hands

• Moving feet, hands, etc. (sometimes in sync)

• Walking on tiptoe, standing on the side of one foot or heel

• Rubbing feet against each other (“cricket legs”), especially in bed

• Swinging

• Contracting and relaxing muscles

• Rocking back and forth

• Shrugging shoulders

• Using a weighted blanket

• Opening and closing doors

• Hanging from places

• Laying face down on something

• Hitting your head (or another body part) against something or with your hands

• Kicking / stomping feet

• Punching pillows or a punching bag

• Running

• Spinning around in a chair with wheels

• Swinging on a pendulum

• Shaking your head to a rhythm


OTHER STIMMING / COMBINED

• Doodling

• Looking for patterns on tiles, houses, sidewalks, etc

• Reading license plates

• Memorizing things

• Playing an instrument

• Keyboarding

• Painting (mandalas, patterns...)

• Assemble something with Legos

• Using stim toys

• Lying on a cold floor

• Mentally counting or repeating things

• Crafts that require repetition or patterns (crochet, knitting, macramé, etc.)

• Collecting objects and sorting them, classifying them, observing them

• Hatha yoga or any sport that requires repetition

• Folding your ears in on themselves

• Doing stretching exercises

• Doing puzzles, brain teasers, or Rubik's cube

• Reading the same book(s) over and over

• Shuffling cards, coins, etc.

• Popping bubble wrap

• Doing Sudoku, looking for patterns!





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