Humans are at our best when we can maintain steady heads and open hearts.  That is when we are in our “Window of Tolerance” according to Dr. Dan Siegel.

When we are within our Window of Tolerance, we are able to respond effectively and calmly to the stress that life throws us.

When stress becomes too much, we move into what is called Hyperarousal (feeling overwhelmed, anxious, ornery) or Hypoarousal (feeling numbed out, checked out and disconnected). The more stress we have, the more narrow our Window of Tolerance becomes, which means that we are less able to handle stress.

The good news is there are many things we can do when we find ourselves outside of our Window of Tolerance. Even more good news is that we’ve all been there before–which means that the people in your life who support you can be key in helping you get back in that Window.
So, the first step is to notice when we are winding up or checking out:
-What are signs that you are feeling overwhelmed or checked out? 
-Who can help you notice when you are moving out of your Window of Tolerance–and can help you move back into it? 
If you are finding yourself feeling overwhelmed, shaky, heart racing, or feeling unsafe (hyperaroused), try these things to help calm your system:
-take some deep breaths
-move your body! hike, dance, shake it out, bounce–just move!
-practice active mindfulness activities like cooking, eating, yoga
If you are finding yourself feeling zoned out, disconnected, empty, having trouble concentrating (hypoaroused), try these things to re-engage and feel more connected:
-take some deep breaths
-engage your senses–what do you see? what do you hear, feel, smell or taste?
-move your body–take a vigorous walk, dance, chew some crunchy food, jump on a trampoline–just move! 
Please share how you are feeling with someone you love. And if you feel that what you are trying isn’t helping, please reach out to your doctor or consider scheduling an appointment with a counselor. You do not need to struggle alone! There are lots of people here to help you regain a steady head and an open heart. 

Explore the Y’s “Steady Heads Open Hearts” YouTube channel for additional resources on managing and improving your mental well-being.