Within what is called our ‘window of tolerance’ we feel calm, centred, and content. But when we move outside of that window of tolerance our energy becomes too high and we become hyper-aroused (anxious, angry) or too low and we become hypo-aroused (low, depressed, disengaged). Good mental health is about being able to ‘monitor and modify’ our system to keep us in that Goldilocks sweet spot in the middle (not too little, not too much).
So how do we come down when we’re to far up and how do we come up when too far down?
Breathing, grounding and mindfulness practices amongst others are useful universal approaches, but just as triggers for dysregulation are unique for each person, so too, are the kinds of practices that regulate us. In order to develop an ‘emotional toolbox’ we need to find what works for us individually. It is therefore important to explore different experiences to find your own ‘resource repertoire’ that can keep you in emotional balance and harmony.
What are some of the things that work for you?
We need to explore particularly the experiences that bring comfort and soothe us. One approach is to work with movement and rhythm to bring us back into the ‘green zone’.
Try explore different movements. What feels pleasant? You might like to put on some music and just allow your body to move naturally. What kinds of movements bring calm to your body? What movements bring in more energy? Is it more pleasing to move fast or slow? Try find one movement that feels good to do and repeat it a few times. It could be rolling your head, lifting your arms or simply walking in a particular way across the floor. Notice what happens in your body as you do so. Notice how it impacts the rhythm of your breath and your heart-rate. Set the intention to let that movement calm/ energise you (or whatever state you want to create). When you notice the desired state come on name it and ‘anchor’ it in by saying the word out loud. Then notice how that feels.
Return and repeat this practice once a day over the next week and notice how it impacts how your level of arousal.