Everybody has a different window of tolerance. “Window of tolerance” is a term used to describe the bounds you have within you so that you can function optimally in your everyday life. Getting outside of your window of tolerance happens when you are either over- or under-stimulated, which can look and feel different for everyone.
What Impacts Your Window of Tolerance
When you are in your unique window of tolerance, you can experience wellness in your life—working, playing, creating, and relating to others in a way that allows you to thrive. Alternatively, becoming over- or under-stimulated can lead you outside of your window of tolerance, bringing increased feelings of stress and anxiety.
Being over-stimulated can trigger your “fight or flight” mode. This can impose symptoms like fear, panic, hypervigilance, anger, and overwhelm. Feeling under-stimulated can happen when you are not getting or giving yourself the proper nurturing. These symptoms can manifest as depression, emotional shutdown, isolation, numbness, and shame.
It can be helpful to build self-awareness around what keeps you in your optimal window of tolerance, and what triggers hypo- or hyper-stimulation. This is so you can effectively navigate through emotions and situations that come up to stay in your window of tolerance and handle them with ease.
Getting Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
In developing a more expansive window of tolerance that allows you to regulate and stay present, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. For example, to increase your ability to feel emotions, you must lean into the feelings you are having and feel them, not push them away.
While this may feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar at first, with time, your ability to exist in discomfort increases, and so does your window of tolerance. Then you can be more open to life and what it has for you.
Gathering Emotional Regulation Tools
It can be helpful to work with a therapist to guide you in learning to cope with emotions, gather emotional regulation tools, and expand your window of tolerance to live with greater freedom and ease.
Learning new ways to experience emotions is a vital part of expanding your window of tolerance for a more comfortable life with your feelings. Through building self-awareness of your unique window of tolerance, understanding what forces you out of it, and building emotional regulation tools to expand your tolerance to intense emotions, you can welcome healing and growth into your life.
Building emotional regulation tools is an essential part of learning how to feel emotions, especially if numbing emotions is what you are used to. Beginning to lean into emotions and feeling them allows you to build your ability to be with discomfort and stay present through challenges. At Avalon Malibu, we recognize how foreign it can be to begin feeling emotions and are here to support you as you learn new ways of being with them. If you are ready to start or continue healing, call Avalon Malibu today at (844) 857-5992.