I wanted to do a quick video today on what to do when you’re freaking out. You can do this anytime if you notice your anxiety is really high… and either you’re feeling too much, or you may feel like you’re not quite all there. Some of us check out a little bit when we’re overwhelmed. It’s totally normal for that to happen.
Here’s a way to get yourself back kind of down into what we call the Window Of Tolerance.
The Window Of Tolerance is when you can think, feel, and act at the same time. You know when you’re in the window of tolerance, it’s your range of normal. If you feel like you’re outside the range of normal for you, here’s something you can do anytime, anywhere, to get yourself back into that range of normal. Let’s try it right now together.
I want you to look around the room and I want you to pick a color. You can make an unusual color; you can pick purple or orange. There’s often not a lot of purple everywhere. Then you pick a number and you find that many of that color. So let’s say, find three purple things. It’s going to take a minute because there’s not a lot of purple in this room. So you find a book with a purple jacket, a purple shoe, and purple grapes.
What happens when you do that is your attention goes from whatever you’re upset about or whatever you’re freaked out about to this task of finding things that are purple, which is not something you’re normally doing. So let’s say you find those three purple things, or those seven orange things, or whatever color and number you picked, and you’re still feeling not all there. That’s fine; it often takes more than just distracting yourself for a minute. So then what you do is basic mindfulness, which is whatever you need to do to get yourself here and now.
I like to start with asking, “What’s the light like in the room right now? That can be sunshine coming in through the window, or a lamp, or multiple sources of light, or just a screen. Whatever it is, just notice the light coming in. The next thing would be, “What do you hear?” It might traffic outside, you might hear the clock ticking, you might hear my voice. [Next is] “What do you smell?” Do you smell just kind of a neutral like you know the normal smell of the room you’re in or do you spell some food cooking do you spell trash that needs to be taken out do you smell someone’s perfume whatever it is and then finally we’re going to just whatever you can touch whether it’s the arm of your chair or the fabric of your jeans whatever it may be engaging the five senses brings you into the here and now. We’re often not putting energy into the here and now. Usually but we’re freaked out about it something that’s not actually happening in that moment. So we can take a moment to ground ourselves in the here and now.
Hopefully you’ve done it along with me, if not, pause the video to ground yourself in your environment. You’ll notice that you probably have come down into that Window Of Tolerance.
If you are wanting to work to incorporate more mindfulness into your daily life and help learn to regulate emotions, I have a few openings in my practice right now and you can schedule a free consultation on my website. look forward to hearing from you,
is a feminist therapist offering online therapy to California residents for anxiety, transitions, and trauma.