I am very grateful for having found out, a few years back about the 90-Second Rule in Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor‘s book “My Stroke of Insight”. I talked about this book before, in my post about my sister Ioana. Today I want to share with you the 90-Second Rule, because it changed how I deal with my emotions and maybe it will help you too.
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard-trained brain scientist, suffered a stroke at the age of 37. She had the rare opportunity as a scientist to study the working of her own brain at first-hand from the inside out. In her recovery process, she witnessed her emotional responses to different stimuli and she determined that it only took 90 seconds to have an emotional circuit triggered, flush a physiological response through the body and then flush it completely out of the system.
She calls it THE 90-SECOND RULE. She says: “We can all learn that we can take full responsibility for what thoughts we are thinking and what emotional circuitry we are feeling. Knowing this and acting on this can lead us into feeling a wonderful sense of well-being and peacefulness.”
Dr. Taylor goes on saying that it does not matter if it is the fear circuitry or the anger circuitry or even the joy circuitry: “…it is really hard to hold a good belly laugh for more than 90 seconds naturally. The 90-second rule is totally empowering. That means for 90 seconds, I can watch this happen, I can feel this happen and I can watch it go away. After that, if I continue to feel that fear or feel that anger, I need to look at the thoughts I am thinking that are re-stimulating that circuitry that is resulting in me having this physiology over and over again.”
Isn’t that something that you are glad to have found out? I know that for me it was like a lightning bolt struck my awareness and shifted my perception about emotional processes and releasing mechanisms.
In 90 seconds, the brain and the entire physiology are DONE with the emotional response to fear, joy, despair, happiness, anger and so on. It is what WE CHOOSE TO THINK AFTER THAT 90 SECOND PERIOD that determines our emotional cleanliness or the ever growing piles of emotional debris.
It takes less than two minutes to let go. Isn’t this remarkable? Isn’t this powerful and empowering? Try it. I have and it changed my awareness.
I will leave you today with a a quote from one of the first tenured women at the Harvard Business School, Shoshana Zuboff who earned her Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University and her B.A. in philosophy from the University of Chicago:
“Awareness requires a rupture with the world we take for granted; then old categories of experience are called into question and revised.”