Titration, an important term in the lexicon of somatic work and the nervous system. If you're not familiar with this idea, think of it as controlling the rate of water flow from a faucet.
Titration determines how long it takes to fill an empty cup sitting under a running faucet. You titrate—and control—the flow rate and subsequent fill rate using the knobs of the faucet.
Tonight's final presidential debate is being aired on National TV as well as Youtube. Take it or leave it, my suggestion is to watch the live-stream debate on the internet.
Why? Simple. So you can titrate your experience.
It's ok to use the knob of the pause button as frequently as you need to—to titrate your exposure to the stimulus (in this case the debate). Especially as and when you notice you're feeling activated, triggered, and/or overwhelmed.
When the debate—and your bodily response to what is happening—just becomes too much for you, too much to hold—and you're aware it's become too much for you, that is the time to change the flow rate to support the limits of your capacity.
In such a moment, the flow rate is greater than you have capacity for—your cup is overflowing—so turn down the flow rate or turn it off completely.
Understanding the mechanics and dynamics of your nervous system is, in many ways, dependent on the subtle and gross awareness you have of what is happening in your body.
Which, paradoxically, is in relationship and intimately connected to the subtle mechanics and dynamics of your nervous system.
One's sense of what is happening in their body is called interoception.
Interestingly, just because 'something' is happening, does not mean an individual is aware that it is happening.
As an example, someone might shout at one of the candidates out of anger, but not realize they're shouting or that they're feeling angry.
Someone else may shout, knowingly, or laugh uncontrollably, but not know they're feeling angry.
Mid-debate someone is asked, "what do you think about Trump?" and they literally cannot speak. Internally they may feel overwhelmed and overcome by deep sorrow and rage (aware or not) and wrap themselves under a blanket on the couch, feeling completely helpless in light of the meaning their mind makes about what they're witnessing and 'what's coming'.
There are countless possibilities and expressions.
Tonight, the invitation is to simply notice, if/when/as you notice and take appropriate self-care actions when you realize something is happening that doesn't necessarily feel good.
Ideally this is:
1. before you're triggered
2. before you realize you're triggered.
...and it's absolutely ok if the ideal doesn't happen.
For some, watching the debate might be a live experience and for others—should you feel called to invest your time—it may take an entire day if that's what your nervous system requires, from a titration standpoint, to stay regulated, calm, and settled.
Because that's the goal.
Your system may be stressed, but that stress is to a degree you have the capacity to be with.
How do you know what you have capacity for? This is a bit complex, but the short answer is, as above; you feel calm, settled, you can think straight, your breath is normal, and you're in the present moment.
My invitation to you, for tonight, is to make friends with titration.
Fortunately, in this digital age—and in this particular scenario—it's possible to hit the pause button as often as you need to.
This will help you to maintain presence to what it is that you're witnessing (on the screen), and experiencing in your body (like sensations, feelings, thoughts), rather than getting steam rolled by an overwhelming experience that takes you on a ride into activation and mental/emotional suffering you need not necessarily go on.
Sadly, this isn't always the case in life, but relative to digital live streams of presidential debates, you do have control... should you desire to exercise that control.
...and please remember to practice radical self-care within the container of your titrated experience to assist in settling your system if/when you feel overwhelmed/activated.
Fresh air, earth, stars, salt baths, calming music, beautiful aromas, etc.
Pause, self-care, hit play, and repeat as often as needed—or don't watch at all—the choice is yours.
If you have any questions or need support please email me.