“Once triggered, the chemical released by my brain surges through my body and I have a physiological experience. Within 90 seconds from the initial trigger, the chemical component of my anger has completely dissipated from my blood and my automatic response is over. If, however, I remain angry after those 90 seconds have passed, then it is because I have chosen to let that circuit continue to run.” Jill Bolte Taylor
The natural life span of an emotion-the average time it takes for the emotion to move through the nervous system and body-is 90 seconds.
After that we need thoughts to keep the emotion going. If you resist the emotion, make a story about where it came from or how long it will stay or who caused it, then it could hang around for hours or days.
If you wonder why you seem to experience painful emotional states like depression, rage or anxiety for extended periods of time, you need to simply look to your own endless stream of inner dialogue.
If you allow an emotion to exist for 90 seconds without judging it will most likely disappear. It’s so tempting to grab onto our thoughts about an emotion and to create a story. Pema Chödrön describes this feeling as “the hook” as our thoughts hook, line and sink us.
See what happens when you allow your emotions to surge through your system-simply allow the emotion to naturally pass and flush out. If you fight the emotion it will gain strength and you will feel overwhelmed and in need of escape.
90 seconds, or a lifetime. Your call.