Working with the Window of Tolerance

Once we have an understanding of the a window of tolerance, it’s important to identify when we are not in the right place and then work towards bring ourselves back into the zone.


If you have experienced a lot of trauma, it might be difficult at first to identify where you are. It can be helpful to notice your pulse rate and or your blood oxygen level to see when you may need to put tools in place. The right smart watch app can help you measure these physical responses and a pulse ox machines can also monitor.


It’s important to see that your actions are a journey and not a final destination. It’s best to approach your therapy like a skill to be learned and sharpened.


If I want to comfortably dead lift 200 pounds, I will get hurt if I start lifting 200 pounds the first day in the gym. Start slow when lifting weights and start slow when trying to improve your mental health.


Mindfulness or a mind-body approach can be a helpful way to check in on where you are and return you to a middle state. A body scan mediation technique can help connect if you are holding parts of your bodies tightly with tension in a specific area.


Activities to try if you are feeling like you need to calm:

  • Deep breathing, square breathing or belly breathing*
  • Tossing a ball back and forth
  • Being under a weighted blanket
  • Drinking a warm drink slowly
  • Grounding skills
  • Guided mediation
  • Listening to calming music


Activities to try if you are feeling frozen or stuck:

  • Smelling strong pleasant scents
  • Jumping up and down
  • Cross body activities
  • Swinging or Rocking
  • Dancing to upbeat or energizing music



A therapist can help you identify which of these skills might work best for you and what to do if you struggle to identify your Window of Tolerance.


*breathing techniques can sometimes make people more anxious. If this is the case for you don’t do them.


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