Be REAL Week 7 (10-week)




Widening our Window of Tolerance (Part 1)


In this session, we discussed the Window of Tolerance, including ways to support ourselves when we get kicked out of our window. We also discussed navigating challenging situations and interactions with radical acceptance.


Window of Tolerance




The Window of Tolerance refers to our body and mind’s ability to manage stress. When we are within our window, we are calm and collected; we can experience stress but can manage our emotions and responses. When we get kicked out of our window, we go into hyper- or hypo-arousal and we need tools to ground ourselves, such as those below. Watch our 6-minute video on the Window of Tolerance for more. 


Pause, be Present, Proceed

We discussed a practice that can help us before we get kicked out of our Window of Tolerance: the 3Ps. If we can pause, even for a brief moment, we create an opportunity to tune into how we feel and identify an effective way to proceed.


                      Save this image as a reminder to practice the 3Ps.
The 3Ps is a skill for being in the moment. To practice:

Pause: Take a minute to be present – for you. Take a breath, or feel your feet on the ground.

Be Present: Notice what is happening in the moment. Without trying to change anything, observe what emotions or thoughts are present.
Proceed: Continue in a way that is wise. Maybe you observed you are tired and need a brief break? Maybe you noticed you’ve been so busy that you’ve forgotten to eat lunch? Find what you need. 
There is actually a fourth P: Practice! Our brain needs to practice the 3Ps before it can become a habit. Put a note up in your home to remind you to practice daily – e.g., do the 3Ps before you brush your teeth.  


Radical Acceptance

Radical acceptance, a concept from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, is when we meet our experiences where they are in each moment. We accept what is happening and how we feel about it. Many stressors, from minor to major ones, are beyond our control. For example, COVID19 led to closures and the cancelation of ceremonies for millions of people – weddings, memorials, reunions, graduations, and more. It is normal to feel upset, even angry, about not being with family and friends during these important events. But the reality is what it is – closures mean people have been unable to travel. Denying this reality (e.g. saying “It shouldn’t be like this! This can’t be happening.”) creates more emotional suffering. It can also prevent us from being able to focus and make decisions about effective ways to handle a situation or support ourselves emotionally. For a full recap, watch our 7-minute Radical Acceptance video.  

When we practice radical acceptance, we tune into how we feel about a situation and we ask ourselves:

  • What part of this situation can I change or control?
  • What part of the problem can I do something about?
  • What part of my reaction can I do something about?
In the example of a ceremony being cancelled because of COVID19 closures, we might not be able to change the situation. However, we could find an alternative way to celebrate or mark a holiday. Also, a key aspect of radical acceptance is accepting how we feel about a situation. So we would also accept that we feel angry or disappointed that an event was cancelled.
Radical acceptance creates space for our own growth and healing. When we radically accept something, we tune into how we feel about a situation with our mind, body, and heart. It’s about being at peace with ourselves. Download our reflective worksheet and review some of the ways you can practice:


Home Practice

Noticing Practices

Guided & Reflective Practices


About Be REAL
Be REAL (Resilient Attitudes & Living) was developed at the University of Washington Center for Child & Family Well-Being. The program’s aim is to promote the well-being of college students and staff by building skills to cope with emotions, navigate challenging situations, and strengthening internal awareness. Learn more.






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