The Window of Tolerance

Have you heard of the Window of Tolerance before?

I hadn’t, not until I hit a rocky patch a couple of years ago.  One that arrived out of the blue, one that surprised me because I had been doing so well, I had achieved so much and made lots of positive changes in my life.

When this “rocky patch” appeared out of nowhere I was worried that Anxiety was on the increase again or that depression was back, I didn’t want to end up back where I had started. So I mentioned it to my CBT Therapist, who explained about the Window of Tolerance.

Everyone has a Window of Tolerance

The window is different sizes for different people, for example, for a person who has a Mental Health Condition the Window of Tolerance may be smaller than for someone that doesn’t.

How it works

If there are no barriers in the way you can quite happily function/cope with everyday life and within your Window of Tolerance.

If you have barriers building up within your Window of Tolerance, blocking your natural “flow”, things start to get more difficult and you have less room to move as the barriers are stopping your path.

The barriers consist of things like:

  • Being out of your comfort zone.
  • A loss of a loved one.
  • Social situations.
  • Exams.
  • Talking to people/being around people.
  • An interview.
  • Change.

There are loads more that could be added to that list.  For me it was the fear of not seeing someone again, being out of my comfort zone all day at a course, exams, people, plus a few more.

Those barriers start to build a wall, the more events that happen add another brick to that wall, until eventually you are left with a tiny space to flow through.  All it takes is a small non-event to send you into either the Red Zone (Anxiety) or the Blue Zone (Depression). 

For me I normally get sent into the Red Zone, it kicks my Anxiety off and I end up feeling overwhelmed.

I find all this fascinating, it made sense as to why I was feeling the way I was, knowing this helped me to process what was going on, it helped me to take the pressure of myself and allowed me to accept it and deal with it.

I have found by knowing how it all works it has stopped me being so hard on myself, it has helped me and I hope it helps you too.

Shared from an old Blog

8 thoughts on “The Window of Tolerance

    1. I think that’s why I try to learn as much as I can. It gives me greater understanding of why I do what I do and I less self critical.

      It gives me a greater understanding of other people, it’s difficult to stay mad at someone when you understand their reasons for behaving the way do.

      Liked by 1 person

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