Dr. Dan Siegel coined the term Window of Tolerance, this is the optimal zone of arousal where we are able to manage and thrive in every day life. .
Our window of tolerance can be narrow or wide and is different for all people and at different times in our lives.
When we are outside of our window of tolerance because we perceive a threat / don't feel safe, our nervous system responds by going into Survival Mode. .
Sometimes the nervous system activation and its consequent arousal can feel "too much" taking us up into Hyper-arousal or down into Hypo-arousal. .
😠HYPER-AROUSAL- Activates the Fight/ Flight response- Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)
anxious panicky, angry, emotionally overwhelmed, unsafe, tense, stuck in worry thoughts, hypervigilant, impulsive. .
😦HYPO-AROUSAL- Activates Immobility response- Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)- Ventral Vagal
numb, shut down, disconnected, low in energy, heavy, zoned-out, dizzied, depressed.
✔️OPTIMAL LEVEL OF AROUSAL- Activates Social Engagement response- Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)- Dorsal Vagal .
✳️What can we do? .
✔️Name the emotions, sensations, thoughts: this allows for a sense of understanding. .
✔️Focus mindfully on noticing how our body feels physically, allowing space to be and feel: this allows for a sense of validation and is a powerful grounding tool. .
✔️Try to identify what we need to do to move back to optimal arousal: Identify coping strategies that work for us. .
🎯The goal is to essentially broaden this window of tolerance, increasing capacity for people to hold emotional experiences (even intense ones) without become dysregulated or going into a state of hyper or hypo arousal by using the appropriate coping strategies needed at each given time.
Check more about this topic here.