• Hypo-Arousal

    The window of tolerance is the range in which we as humans are able to function most effectively.

    When the brain perceives a threat that it does not think you can fight or flee from it is likely to go into a state of collapse, in which you may feel immobilized with fear.  This is you’re your dorsal vagal circuit gets activated.

    Physical symptoms of hypo-arousal:


    preparing for death

    increase in pain-reducing endorphins

    feeling physically numb

    decrease heart rate & blood pressure

    slowed breathing


    depressed immune response

    diminished eye contact

    diminished muscle tone & facial expression

    increase in storage of fuel

    Mental Symptoms of hypo-arousal:




    shut down


    loss of interest in activities



    flat emotion

    decreased capacity to engage with others


    blank mind

    Coping skills for when you are hypo-aroused:

    Grounding – particularly using the senses

    Ask for help

    Get up and get moving



    Eat crunchy food

    Smelling strong smells

    Bouncing – trampoline, yoga ball or jumping jacks

    Reach out and physically connect

    Cold glass of water

    Hold an ice cube

    Try to balance on one foot

    Listen to fast/up-beat music

    Each person’s response to threat is unique, which physical or mental symptoms of hypo-arousal did you recognize in yourself? Have you tried all the coping skills listed? If not try some of them out the next time you notice your symptoms. Learn what works for you.