May 23, 2022

How trauma throws you off balance (understanding your window of tolerance)

How trauma throws you off balance (understanding your window of tolerance)

Have you ever felt like you had absolutely no control over your emotions or reactions? Do random episodes of rage and anger seem to hijack your nervous system out of nowhere? Do paranoid and anxious thoughts make it impossible for you to make calm and grounded decisions about what to do next? What about feeling like you’re entirely emotionally shut down? No matter what you do or how hard you try, there is a sense of disconnection and distraction in your relationships and life. You coast through moments of your day (or years of your life) feeling numb. If you relate to this, chances are you’ve been living outside your window of tolerance. The term window of tolerance describes the space where your level of arousal (how alert you are) matches up with what is required for you to do. If you’re living within your window of tolerance, you’re able to handle emotions and minor frustrations without losing control and making clear-headed decisions.


*Note* - The first half of this episode is spent discussing a paragraph from a book I’m reading on asexuality as well as three listener questions (on the topics of intuition, relationships, and emotional dysregulation.) If you want to skip straight to the topic of window of tolerance, skip to around 39 minutes.


​​💡 Questions answered and topics discussed in this episode:

■ What is the window of tolerance?

■ Understanding the window of tolerance and its relation to trauma recovery and emotion dysregulation

■ How our body responds defensively to stress: fight, flight or freeze responses 

■ Examples of what it’s like to be both inside and outside the “optimal zone” of your window of tolerance


📝Recommended resources:

Book | Ace What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen

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