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Window of Tolerance

During Covid-19, you might feel that your emotions are difficult to understand. You might feel that you get frustrated easier than usual. You might feel a bit disconnected from everything. A useful way to understand such feelings is through the “Window of Tolerance”. We all have a “window of tolerance” that allows us to respond to everyday stresses without much difficulty. When we have a “large window”, we can handle a lot of pressure and curveballs with ease.  When we have a smaller window, it takes very little to “shoot” out the window.

Things that can make us feel uncomfortable (dysregulation ) include trauma, tiredness, environment, additional stresses, our past. Sometimes, we may then experience anxiety, anger, panic, impulsivity, feel overwhelmed (hyperarousal). Other times, we may feel disconnected, numbness, shut down (hypoarousal). Everyone is different. We hope to increase the size of our window over time to help with whatever life may throw at us. By expanding our window, we increase our ability to experience this discomfort better. Things that can help us to increase the size of our window include self-care, engaging in hobbies, mindfulness, grounding exercises. It can be useful to understand what creates stress for you, recognise when you are “out of your window” and develop ways to help expand the size of your window.

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