Part 3 in this little series on the arousal curve (you can find the last two on my grid if you missed them)! Today let’s talk about bandwidth 😊 A quick reminder of what the colours on the arousal curve mean: 💙 low arousal (sleepy, tired, lethargic) 💚 just right arousal (calm, awake, grounded) 💛 high arousal (edgy, excited, anxious, joyful) ❤️ super high arousal (loss of control, meltdown, panic, anger) Our “bandwidth” is how wide those green and yellow segments on the curve are for us at any given time 🌈 A narrow bandwidth, like in the image, means that we might swing from low arousal to super high arousal (and vice versa) very quickly. With a wider bandwidth, the transition between states is slower and there’s more time to use calming or alerting strategies to self-regulate before we hit the red or the blue. All of us have bandwidths that change throughout our days for various reasons (e.g. sleep, stress, emotional factors), but people with sensory processing disorder have a narrower bandwidth all. the. time. Fortunately, there are things we can do to widen our bandwidth! Something you can do right away to widen your bandwidth a bit, whether you have SPD or not, is to get some proprioceptive input. I know, you’re so surprised! 😆 I talk about proprioception a lot because it’s SO helpful and organising for our brains. Check out the previous post in this series for some proprioception ideas ✨ We can also widen our bandwidth over time with occupational therapy. OT helps us to understand and respond to our unique sensory systems. As we build a toolkit of knowledge and skills to help us self-regulate, our brain feels increasingly safe, and our bandwidth widens. Mine is a work in progress, but gradually widening all the time! If you’ve got any questions about the arousal curve, sensory processing disorder or occupational therapy, feel free to comment below or DM me! I’m not an expert, just someone learning about my own brain, but I’m really happy to chat and share resources 😊❤️ How is your bandwidth right now? Do you feel like it’s fairly wide, or a bit narrow?
Swipe through to see my whole Christmas range! 🎄✨ Which product is your favourite? ❤️ Also, I’ve put some important dates for Christmas shipping in a story highlight for ya! If you’re shopping from overseas (i.e. not from New Zealand) the post can take a lil bit, so pop over there to get the details of when you need to order if you’d like delivery before Christmas 💌 [Image descriptions: close ups of Sarah’s Christmas range - including 5 cards and a sticker sheet. The card in the first image features a painting of a little red church in a snow globe.]
What is split arousal? 🤔 Last week we talked about the arousal curve, a measure of our energetic state. Pop back two posts to catch up if you missed it! A quick recap on what the colours on the curve mean: 💙 low arousal (sleepy, tired, lethargic) 💚 just right arousal (calm, awake, grounded) 💛 high arousal (edgy, excited, anxious, joyful) ❤️ super high arousal (loss of control, panic, anger) We can check in with where we’re at on this curve, and then use calming or alerting sensory input to bring us back to the green “just right” zone 💚 Sometimes though, the arrow doesn’t fall to just one place on the curve. If you’ve ever felt low/lethargic/sleepy while simultaneously feeling edgy/anxious/restless, then you’ve experienced “split arousal” - being in a state of low and high arousal at the same time! 💙🤯💛 I personally experience this pretty often (if you also have sensory processing difficulties, you might experience this often too!), and it can be really frustrating and unpleasant. This is where PROPRIOCEPTION comes in super handy - sensory information that your brain receives from your muscles and joints that tells you how your body is positioned. Proprioception is known as the organising sense, because wherever your arousal is, getting proprioceptive input can help bring you back to the green, just right state 💚 Anything that involves pressure or using your muscles will give you this input. Some examples: - walking - lifting weights - swimming - wrapping yourself tightly in a blanket - sitting with a pet on your lap - squeezing a stress ball/putty/a squishy fidget What other examples can you think of that might work for you? Let me know below, and if you’ve got any questions please fire away! Once you’ve found some proprioceptive strategies that work for you, you can pull them out whenever your arousal is split, or if you can’t figure out where it is. GAME CHANGER 😍 [Image description in comments]
I added some veryyy subtle animations to this photo, can you spot them all? 😆 This Christmas Deer card is in my Etsy store - tap the link in my bio to browse my Christmas range! ❤️
THE AROUSAL CURVE 🌈 Everyone has an arousal curve (a measure of our energetic state) that we move around as we go about our days. The four colours represent: 💙 Low arousal: low energy, sleepy, lethargic, tired 💚 Just right arousal: calm, awake, grounded, attentive 💛 High arousal: high energy can be anxious, edgy, upset, stressed... or excited, joyful! ❤️ Super high arousal: loss of control, anger, fear, panic We can use sensory self care strategies to boost our arousal if it’s low, or lower our arousal if it’s high, and bring ourselves closer to that just-right state (the green! 💚) Try checking in on this curve - where do you think the arrow is pointing for you right now? 🤔 It’s a continuum, not categorical, so you might be high green, for example, or mid yellow. Obviously this little video is VERY staged, and these different states of arousal don’t look the same for everyone! There is no right or wrong answer or experience 😊 This is one of the main tools I use to manage my sensory processing disorder (thanks to my amazing occupational therapist @sensorystrategyot)! It’s also a wonderful self care tool - it helps you to tune into your body and identify what you need. Let me know if this is useful for you, or if you have any questions! 💙💚💛❤️ P.S. I’ve written a whole workbook for @theblurtfoundation (Your Sensory Self Care Toolkit) to help you to discover your unique sensory preferences, and how to use them to bring your arousal back to that just-right state! I‘ve popped a link to it in my bio if you’re interested 🥰