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Stress in Relationships

Considering the window of tolerance

It’s Amanda again! We often evaluate our stress in relationship to what we think we “should” be able to handle, or what others seem to be able to handle, or what we have handled in the past. Stress is completely dependent on a variety of factors, and we have to evaluate each stressor or incidence of stress in relationship to the things orbiting around it and us. When my “window of tolerance” is really small, a lot more stuff seems out of control and overwhelming, which leads to a stress reaction. When my window of tolerance is bigger, I am more capable of handling those same things. For example, my window of tolerance shrinks when I have several stressful situations coming at me at once, my daughter is having difficulty with sleep and gets up a bunch of times in the middle of the night, I’m eating a lot of crap because I’m too tired to cook, I’m not respecting the boundaries I know support me with screen time because I just want to zone out on TikTok because I’m overwhelmed, I haven’t had opportunities to connect with friends, and it’s too rainy outside to go for a walk – I’m just not going to have the same capacity to handle stressors. Another thing to consider when you’re confused over why certain stressors activate you more – what does it bring up in your backstory? Does it remind you of something in your past, your family of origin, past years in your relationship? Just consider looking at all the surrounding factors next time you begin to judge yourself on whether or not something “should” be stressful, it will help you gain a ton of perspective. 

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