The Window of Tolerance

How your nervous system impacts your ability to respond or react in times of stress.

Hi There

I hope you are well.

I thought I would write about ‘the Window of Tolerance’ (WOT) and how Counselling and Restorative Yoga support the widening of the window.

WOT is about the different states of being we may go through in a day. Ideally it is the space where you can move through your day where you may experience stress or pressure, but it doesn’t impact your day too much.

However, stress and trauma can make your WOT smaller, where you feel triggered a lot more.

For some this can lead to feelings of anxiety, anger or feeling overwhelmed. You become hyper aroused and this can lead to your nervous system activating your sympathetic nervous system – the flight/fight response.

For others you may numb what you are feeling, zone out and become hypo aroused.

In a hypo aroused state your nervous system may activate your freeze/faint response.  You may even switch between hyper aroused and hypo aroused throughout the day, depending on the trigger.

Counselling can support you to reflect on these patterns of behaviour and triggers, and see what is ready for change.

Through this process you may gain insight into what behaviours were put in place as a survival strategy.  You can then develop some strategies to suit your personal situation such as breathwork, walking, journaling, or drawing to name few.

As healing and being more present in your body occurs, you may notice you are connecting to yourself on a deeper level.

Through this connection, you can become more aware of what patterns keep you small and what triggers you. And notice you have more ‘space’ to choose whether you will respond or react.  The more you respond the wider your window of tolerance will become as your parasympathetic nervous system is activated.

Restorative yoga supports you in expanding your window of tolerance through slowing down and coming into stillness.

Through the use of breathwork and being in fully supported positions along with meditation, you start to connect with your inner world.  This is when your body can start to let go and allow the parasympathetic nervous system, your rest and digest system to be activated.  The more you do this and use the breathwork and positions not only in class, but in your everyday life, will help to expand your window of tolerance too.

Counselling and restorative yoga complement each other well.  Counselling is a more active process, as emotions can be heightened, however, it is in a safe and fully supportive environment. Restorative yoga is a more passive approach and encourages you go to deeper at your own pace and observe what it feels like in your body, once again in a safe and fully supported environment.

I have included a graphic for a nice visual explanation for you, produced by NICABM.

If you would like to know more, please feel free to call me 0409 096 845.

I hope this helps.