Stress and the 90-Second Rule

According to neuroanatomist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor ‘you can change the course of your reaction to stress in just 90-seconds.’  In a concept, termed as the ‘90-second rule’, Dr. Jill suggests that when we’re faced with any stressful experience in life, we should learn to observe the surrounding emotions for a full 90-seconds. She suggests we do this regardless of how stressful the situation is. Apparently, 90-seconds is all it takes for a person to feel the full range or cycle of an emotion.

In her book, My Stroke Of Insight, Dr Jill says: ‘When a person has a reaction to something in their environment there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.’

‘Something happens in the external world, and as a result, chemicals are flushed through your body which puts it on full alert. It takes less than 90-seconds for those chemicals to totally flush out of the body. This means that for 90-seconds you can watch the process happening, you can feel it happening, and then you can watch it go away.’

‘If you continue to feel fear, anger, and so on, you need to look at the thoughts that you’re thinking that are re-stimulating the circuitry that is resulting in you having this physiological reaction, over and over again.’

When you hold an emotion for longer than 90-seconds you do so by choice. You have the choice to let it go or to stay in the emotional loop by rethinking the same thoughts that will trigger that same cycle all over again. This then becomes imprinted in the subconscious mind. This loop may go on for hours, days, weeks, and even years and, the longer it goes on, the deeper it becomes entrenched in the subconscious mind. What a lot of people tend to do with feelings they don’t like is to block them. This way they no longer experience the feelings and they superficially believe that all is well. The reality is these emotional loops are still playing out in the subconscious mind and the body is still responding to the stressful emotions (even though the event may have happened years ago).

When you allow yourselves to ‘step within’ and observe the environment, you create space for that same 90-second emotional download that Dr. Jill talks about.  This means that for 90-seconds you can watch the process happening, you can feel it happening, and then you can watch it go away before you react or respond to external events, regardless of how stressful they may be.

We just need to remember to ‘step into our light’ more often. The neuroscientist, Professor Antonio Damasio, in his book, The Feeling of What Happens, tells us: ‘Stepping into your light is a wonderful metaphor for accessing your consciousness.’ Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist and psychoanalyst, believed that symbols and metaphors are the language of the subconscious mind.

So, take the time out each day to simply ‘step into your light’, watch as you release your emotions back to the earth, download your higher thinking in the form of whatever affirmation you desire for your day ahead. And simply ‘be’ in life. Bliss!

For those of you who have attended my sessions or meditation evenings, you’ll be familiar with my technique of ‘stepping into your light’ through your heart centre, watching as you release your emotions safely back to the earth, grounding your experience into the now and downloading and affirming the positive feelings you want in any moment in time. What you’re doing is breaking the emotional loop and freeing yourself emotionally to remain present in the now. This gives great clarity of mind and helps you see the bigger picture. You’ll find stressful situations are no longer stressful and you can safely move forward in life.

If you wish to learn more about how to ‘step into your light’, my book, Cosmic Light: Through The Higher Mind, features 32 powerful and effective techniques that help you let go of past fears and future worries and support you in remaining grounded and firmly in the now.