Try one of the following strategies to help cope with body-based symptoms (e.g., increased heart rate, hypervigilance) following trauma:

  1. Breathing. Connecting to your breath can help bring you back into your Window of Tolerance
    1. Box Breathing – Box breathing, also known as four-square breathing, involves exhaling to a count of four, holding your lungs empty for a four-count, inhaling at the same pace, and holding air in your lungs for a count of four before exhaling and beginning the pattern anew
  2. Grounding 5-4-3-2-1. Using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, you will purposefully take in the details of your surroundings using each of your senses. To do it, notice 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you feel, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste. Strive to notice small details that your mind would usually tune out, such as distant sounds or the texture of an ordinary object.
  3. Body Scan. The body scan is one of the most effective ways to begin a mindfulness meditation practice. The purpose is to tune in to your body—to reconnect to your physical self—and notice any sensations you’re feeling without judgement.
    1. Sit quietly or lie down.
    1. Start at one end of your body and focus on each body part.
    1. Notice any areas of tension and then try to soften or relax them.
    1. Continue until you have mindfully scanned each part of your body.

Or try one of the following writing prompts:

  1. Make a list of people, places, or things that push you out of your Window of Tolerance. Try ranking them in order of most impactful to least. Next, write a list of people, places, or things that help bring you back into your Window.
  • Next time you notice yourself feeling stressed, take a moment to write down what you’re feeling in your body. Consider each body part, noticing where you feel tension, shakiness, or numbness. Describe it in as much detail as you can.