Have you heard of the 90-second rule?

Nope, it’s got nothing to do with how long you can safely leave that dropped piece of pizza on the floor and still eat it. 

It’s all about your emotions. 

If you google it you’ll quickly find reference to Jill Bolte-Taylor a brain researcher and author of the book My Stroke of Insight , where she shares her personal story and experience of having a stroke.

Here’s how she explains the 90 second rule:

Something happens in the external world and chemicals are flushed through your body which puts it on full alert. For those chemicals to totally flush out of the body it takes less than 90 seconds.

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.

After that, 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 response over and over again.

And what are the thoughts we think that keep re-triggering that response?

You know them:

  • He/she/they/I should…
  • It’s not fair…
  • I’m so stupid/hopeless/useless/ashamed
  • What if…/what will they think…

Our thoughts and the stories we tell ourselves, trigger emotions, and these emotions impact our behaviours.

Do you understand this and believe it?

Personally, I feel as if understanding and believing that my thoughts are simply made up stories that I choose to believe, is taking me what seems like forever to understand.

When I challenge my ‘I’m not enough’ beliefs and tell myself that actually, I really am enough, my brain helpfully comes up with all sorts of stored up ‘evidence’ to prove my ‘I’m not enough story’. My brain flashes across my mind: things my parents said to me, failures I’ve had, looks others have given me and it reminds me that these all prove that I am not enough. 

Our brain is addicted to being right, you see, and so it will find all sorts of evidence to help us believe that our stories are in fact true, correct, factual and absolutely correct. 

Are you with me in this lifelong work of not being held captive by the stories we tell ourselves?

If so, I invite you to join me in these steps for playing with your emotional self awareness and loosening the hold of our stories: 

  1. Catch yourself in an unhelpful, numbing behaviour such as binge watching, overeating, overdrinking and ask yourself : What am I feeling here?
  2. Try to identify the story you’re telling yourself. Ask: What thoughts am I having
  3. Start making connections. I like to say: Ah! That’s the thing I do when I’m believing my story that ____________.

  4. Then choose: Right now am I going to stay in that story and emotional loop or will I let that be and get on with _________?

You’ve been doing this work with me for long enough now to know that you’ll need to repeat those steps above again and again and again.

This is not a ‘quick-fix’,  it’s a self awareness practice. The more you practice it, the better you get at understanding your stories, your habits and your imperfections. The better you get at understanding yourself, the better you are able to stand confidently and strongly on your own sacred ground.

Enjoy the ride this week!

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