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Window of Tolerance

refers to “a zone of optimal arousal, not too high and not too low, within which we can adaptively and flexibly process stimuli, incluidng thoughts, emotions and physical reactions, without becoming overwhelmed or numb” (Ogden & Fisher, 2015, p. 777).

Words associated with being in one’s window of tolerance include, as examples: “in charge, capable, able to make decisions; curious engaged, interested; centered, able to respond instead of react; alert, open mind, able to think clearly; safe and secure; a sense of trust in yourself and your abilities; composed, calm, relaxed, or at peace; competent, able to handle challenges; ability to focus, concentrate and ignore distractions” (from Ogden & Fisher, 2015, p. 231); safeness, connection, ventral vagal (pathway of parasympathetic nervous system) (Dana, 2018).




Dana, D. (2018). The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation. W.W. Norton & Company: New York.

Ogden, P. & Fisher, J. (2015). Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment. W.W. Norton & Company: New York.

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