Calm and Grounded

*psst…there’s a freebie at the end!

Last week’s blog described the window of tolerance, the space an individual has to effectively cope and deal with everyday stressors. When we are in the window, we are able to plan, concentrate, assess and evaluate information, and use rational thinking.  

When we leave the window, we may enter either a hyper-arousal state (anxiety, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, or intense anger) or a hypo-arousal state (numb, zoned out, paralyzed, or exhausted). In either one of these states, a person will have difficulty functioning and coping with stress. 

When we return to the window of tolerance we are better able to manage stress and function. Below are some tips and coping strategies to help you return to the window of tolerance: 


Using the senses to focus on the present can help us return to the window of tolerance. Try these two exercises and see which works best for you. 


  • Name 5 things you can see.
  • Name 4 things you can hear.
  • Name 3 things you can feel.
  • Name 2 things you can smell.
  • Name 1 thing you can taste. 


Notice where you are sitting. Place your hand on an object near you. For example if you are sitting on a couch, place your hand on the cushion. If you are by your desk, place your hand on the desk or table.

Notice the temperature of the object, is it warmer or colder than your hand? 

Move your hand slowly and notice the texture. Is it smooth or rough? 

Move your hand more quickly, did the temperature or texture seem to change?

Therapy can help the individual return and increase their window so the person is better able to tolerate and cope with stressors. The client learns about their window of tolerance, identifies triggers as well as hyper and hypo-arousal states, and learns to use personalized coping strategies that help to return them to their window. 

While trauma and its symptoms can be difficult and overwhelming, the good news is that it can be treated. If you have experienced trauma or recognize some of the symptoms, you are not alone. Reach out for a free 20 minute consultation to see if we would be a good fit working together:

If you or a loved one are having a medical emergency or are in immediate danger- call 911. If it is important to let the 911 operator know if it is a mental health emergency and ask for police officers trained in crisis intervention or trained to assist people experiencing a psychiatric emergency.

Resources are available, free, and 24/7 to support you:

9-8-8 The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Dial 988. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Crisis Text Line: Text MHA to 741741 to connect with a trained Crisis Counselor, text-based support, free, 24/7

SAMHSA’s National Hotline: 800-662-4357. Free, confidental, 24/7 information service for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. 

The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386 or text START to 678678. A national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth.

Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860 for US and 877-330-6366 for Canada. Trans Lifeline’s Hotline is a peer support service run by trans people, for trans and questioning callers.

National Domestic Violence Hotline:

For any victims and survivors who need support, call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-799-7233 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto or text LOVEIS to 22522.

StrongHearts Native Helpline:

Call 1-844-762-8483. The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally-appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT.

The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline:

Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.