Limbic System and Window of Tolerance


When our amydgala is lit up in the limbic system of our brain, our ability to see the big picture – dissappears. The fight flight freeze response takes over. We literally suffer from tunnel vision. If we are outside the window of tolerance, ( Ogden & Fisher 2015) and in hyperarousal, we become irritable, edgy, angry, -ready for a fight or ready to flight – take off.

When in hypoarousal we get foggy, fuzzy, dissociate, depressed, unable to move, numb, frozen.Either way,  we are ready for the worst case scenario. Outside of the window of tolerance we catastrophize, awfulize, distort reality to fit our negative beliefts.

I bet you are reading this thinking, “wow, why do we even have an amydgala?” Bottom line, we can’t be thinking about a paying our credit card when a threat actually occurs. For example, if we hear a rattlesnake within our proximity,our thinking brain needs to shut off – it needs to be offline so that our fight flight freeze response can do its job!  But what about when there isn’t a threat in our environment and we go out of the window of tolerance alot? When Post Trauma Stress  is the concern, we can get triggered alot. (Think that the past is in the present when its not). To get back into the window of tolerance where are thinking brian is ON, first ground yourself. Orientate yourself to the present.

The following skills will help you ground yourself :

Temperature: ice in hand, face in  cold water.

Drinking cold water slowly

Hot shower

5 – 1 grounding  Five things you see, Five things you hear, Five things you feel. Four things you see, Four things you hear …

Mindful doing


Gregorian chants

Listen to a kitty purr

Spend time with a horse

Diaphramatic breathing.


Once you are grounded then ask yourself where is the evidence that supports my negative belief? What was the trigger ( Where was the past in the present)? Keep a journal so that you can get familiar with your triggers and obtain some control over these triggers.

Adapted by  Crystal Arber      CC 2017

Yoga –

woman-1045402_1920Yoga  is a powerful way to release trauma held in the body. Research from Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk has shown that participation in yoga on a regular basis can actually be just as helpful as other trauma or PTSD treatments.  I recommend yoga as part of a daily diet in combination with EMDR therapy.

Sadly, yoga has become a trend, which means that if you want to enjoy yoga, you might feel pressured to join a club. This is not yoga. Look for a yoga class where the instructor isn’t worried about the their image. Look for low profile classes in your community center or gym. The more bling bling,  loud, or in your face the yoga center, the more likely the focus is on business rather than healing.

To obtain the benefits, you do not need to spend a lot of money. I was doing yoga in the seventies with my mother in our living room. It didn’t cost either of us a dime, other than the cost of the video.

To obtain the benefits of yoga, you do not need a trauma yoga instructor who will charge you more money. In my opinion, this is ridiculous. While a yoga instructor who understands the principles of trauma healing might be helpful, it isn’t necessary that your yoga instructor be trauma trained. The benefits of healing that comes from yoga happen whether or not your yoga instructor got their Phd in trauma treatment.

Hot yoga can be dangerous for some people. Do you have high blood pressure? Asthma, or diabetes? Hot yoga is a fad of this decade. You do not need to participate in hot yoga to obtain the healing benefits of yoga.  One can easily enjoy the benefits of  yoga in their own home with a video and a mat in their living room. If you want to begin healing now begin yoga today.


Crystal Arber CC 2017



Regulation and Romantic Relationships.






Crystal Arber: Heal the Past- Live in the Present

Interesting how so many dating advice sites and popular dating books  ask that women stop being needy, or never act needy, or remain aloof,  but what a lot of these self-help articles for dating and relationship  miss, is how  important it is to turn toward our partner, be honest about our feelings, and then regulate our own anxiety. Pretend to be cool, or make him think it doesn’t bother you, and be distant, is turning away from your partner.Rather than, “pretend you are aloof and don’t care,” I would say, tell your guy what is going on for you and then make it clear that you don’t need him to change just because you are having some feelings that aren’t so pretty. Your guy might think you are a total geek,  or he might find your openness and directness completely refreshing. Chances are good that he is not used to frankness because…

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