“Window of Tolerance” may be a new term that you haven’t heard before.
Your window of tolerance is the space in which you can function in a healthy, calm manner without anxiety and without depression. In other words, it’s where you are able to act and react to the world around you in a healthy way.
What Happens When Your Window Has Shrunk?
Like any window, your window of tolerance can open and close. There are many things that can shrink your window of tolerance – a traumatic brain injury, a trauma, a chronic stress, being in chronic pain. Any of these can shrink your window, giving you less room to function in a healthy way.
When our window of tolerance has shrunk, we are dysregulated. Being dysregulated can show up in two different ways. We either go up and get hypo-aroused where we might have angry outbursts, or we dysregulate down and shut down.
When your tolerance is low, you may find it harder to cope with stress, pain, and other challenges. You may feel overwhelmed, like you can’t handle life, or that you are not good enough.
How To Increase Your Window Of Tolerance
One of the things that counseling can do is help open our window of tolerance.
No matter what has caused it to shrink, we can open it back up through learning healthy coping mechanisms like deep breathing or body scanning. There are also some incredible accelerated techniques for working through past traumas that yield long-term symptom relief.
When we are healthier, we’ll be able to have more range of emotion before we hit that, “I can’t handle it” point.
If you find yourself having angry outbursts or shutting down, it may be time to look at your window of tolerance and how you can expand it. Give us a call!