Be REAL Week 4

Widening our Window of Tolerance

In the fourth 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 and common humanity.

Mindful Check-In


Br Week 4 Mindful Check InWe started with the Mindful Check-In practice. This practice gives us an opportunity to check-in with ourselves – our mindbody  and hearts.  This practice is useful for checking-in, especially during busy times  or any time throughout the day.  It can help us identify underlying feelings and what we might need in the moment or throughout the day to feel well and  grounded. 

Window of Tolerance

Br Week 4 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 to learn more.




Practices to Support Your Window of Tolerance

Walk, stretch, dance, garden – anything to move! Short bursts of activity can boost energy and decrease fatigue. This article lists free classes – including videos and live streaming sessions from strength training to Zumba. This article highlights online workouts, with many family ones.

Br Week 4 Five Minute Movement

Release Tension
Progressive Muscle Relaxation can help soothe anxiety and promote restful sleep. All you do is breathe in and gently tighten a group of muscles; then breathe out and release them. Try our 8-minute Progressive Muscle Relaxation (Relajacion de Musculos Progresiva).

Breathe In Breathe Out

Breathing out longer than you breathe in can help slow down the heart rate and turn on the relaxation response. Our audio file  +2 Breathing (Respiración Extendida) can help you practice.
Note: If exhaling 2 counts longer doesn’t feel comfortable, try 1 count or a brief pause. The breath always changes so find what you need.

+2 Breathing


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.

3 Ps

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

James Baldwin QuoteWhen 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 Misconceptions

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:

Ways To Practice Radical Acceptance

Compassion & Common Humanity

No matter our differences, we all experience joys, suffering and other aspects of being human. Sometimes, reminding ourselves of common humanity can diffuse feelings of annoyance or a tendency to over-personalize situations.

Just Like Me This Person

Just Like Me” is a practice that can remind us of our common humanity. It can be helpful if we are upset with someone because it allows us to consider how they may be working through some of the same experiences or feelings as us. For example, if I see a teacher respond to a student in a way I think isn’t effective, I might have an automatic reaction and think “I can’t believe they said that!”. Using “Just Like Me”, I can pause, reflect and consider how they might be having a difficult day, may have been triggered by something, and – like me – are still growing as a teacher.

Peace & Kindness

The Peace and Kindness meditation can help us feel connected to people we love, as well as expand our circle of compassion to people we don’t know. Research shows that practicing this meditation increases feelings of warmth and happiness, as well as kindness towards ourselves. It works by recognizing we all want the same basic things in life – good health, safety, happiness, and peace – and this can counteract feelings of loneliness.

Peace And Kindness

In this practice, you extend wishes of well-being to people. Use the statements in the image above, or alter them as needed so they are meaningful to you. You can picture specific people, such as someone you love and miss right now. You can also think of people whom you don’t know but wish to extend thoughts too – such as staff in the grocery store or healthcare workers.

Get started with our guided 10-minute Peace & Kindness practice (Paz y Bondad).

A note about the roots of this practice: Peace and Kindness is a mettā practice. Mettā means “loving-kindness” or “benevolence” in Pāli, and originates from the Sanskrit word maitrī. Sanskrit and Pāli are Indo-Aryan languages.

Home Practice

Noticing Practices

  • Mindful Check-In.  How is your mind, body and heart feeling today?
  • Window of Tolerance. Notice when you are within and/or get kicked out of your window. Watch the 6-minute Window of Tolerance video
  • Radical Acceptance. Notice moments of resistance or acceptance. Watch the 7-minute Radical Acceptance video
  • Intention.  What is your intention for this week?

Guided & Reflective Practices

  • Just Like Me 
  • The 3Ps: Pause, be Present, Proceed
  • Radical Acceptance
  • Peace & Kindness Meditation | Paz y Bondad
  • Practices when you get kicked out of your Window of Tolerance: +2 Breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Exercise/Physical Activity

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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