“An emotion like anger that’s an automatic response lasts just ninety seconds from the moment it’s triggered until it runs its course. One and a half minutes, that’s all. When it lasts any longer, which it usually does, it’s because we’ve chosen to rekindle it.” ― Pema Chodron
Chödrön describes this feeling as “the hook” as our thoughts hook, line and sink us and based on Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey.
Taylor describes the 90-second rule as, “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.”
All emotions last for less than 90 seconds, Taylor explains. If anything continues after that it is because we have added our own story and chosen to hold on to the emotion. Therefore, we are causing our emotions to escalate further and we are also ensuring they last longer. The more often we replay the memory, that is attached to a thought, or repeat one of our old painful stories, we remain caught in the cycle and it will get more and more difficult to disconnect.
According to Taylor, if we are aware that emotions take 90 seconds to surge through our systems we can simply allow them to naturally pass and flush out. If we choose to fight the emotion we will emphasize it further and then we will need to fight it again and again, and by then the emotion will then have the power to control us.When we have awareness that all emotions initially last for 90 seconds we can allow them to ripple through us, causing a wave without any resistance; we can let them go without causing further reaction
When we have awareness that all emotions initially last for 90 seconds we can allow them to ripple through us, causing a wave without any resistance; we can let them go without causing further reaction…