Hi Gillian! Yes I have read this book. The main takeaways I discovered are that we must acknowledge what our window of tolerance is in our day to day life in addition to tracking this during meditation as well as the following:
Here are some helpful tips when someone is in a state of disregulated arousal:
Muscle tone extremely slack (collapsed, noticeably flat affect) • Muscle tone extremely rigid • Hyperventilation • Exaggerated startle response • Excessive sweating • Noticeable dissociation (person appears highly disconnected from their body) • Noticeably pale skin tone • Emotional volatility (enraged, excessive crying, terror)
Also, it’s suggested to “apply the brakes” when any hypoarousal (anxiety, panic, traumatic memories) occurs. For example:
Open one’s eyes during meditation practice. • Take structured breaks from mindfulness practice (e.g., walking, stretching, unstructured time). • Take a few slow, deep breaths. • Engage in a soothing form of self-touch (e.g., hand on heart). • Focus on a resourceful, external object in one’s environment. • Engage in shorter practice periods.
Unfortunately I have one client that reaches her window of tolerance unexpectedly and these tips only slightly help. For example, she will meditate and feel profoundly quiet inside and relaxed but then seemingly out of nowhere she will experience extreme nausea and experiences a panic attack. I am a mental health therapist so I am also helping this client reprocess old trauma with EMDR and TRE in a safe way but she really enjoys mindfulness meditation too.
If anyone has any resources on this it would be so appreciative! So far we have “put on the brakes” when needed and shortened practice sessions. I would love to learn about new tools in situations like this if you have any to offer. Thank you!