You are 90 seconds away from peace

TOSHIBA Exif JPEG“Just like children, emotions heal when they are heard and validated.”
I love this quote by Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor. You may know Bolte Taylor from her own story she tells in My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey.

What brain scientists are learning is Peace is within reach. What we must do is feel the emotion that is blocking it, hear it and validate it, and just 90 seconds away, we will find peace.

Can you name the emotion you are feeling right now? If you cannot, try to determine if you are feeling closer to mad, sad, glad or scared. For some, this is an easy task, but many of us are so busy in our day-to-day activities, we don’t fully get in touch with our emotions. We don’t stop our stream of thinking long enough to feel our emotions.

Think of someone you know (or yourself) who experiences anxiety or depression. There may be a feeling under the depression or anxiety they are not experiencing. For example, under anxiety, there may be a fear. Under depression, there may be anger. I often work with depressed girls. Because girls in society are not supposed to be angry, they will unconsciously cover up their anger with depression. In psychology sometimes we say depression is anger turned inward. I remember going through this myself when I fell into a depression in high school.

Externally, my social life was in shambles; I was sleepwalking through school; I was in a small town I just wanted to escape. I wasn’t eating enough. I was exhausted and slept a lot. In hindsight, I now know that internally, I was angry. I was pissed about my life and I so badly wanted things to change. I was not thriving and was barely surviving. No one felt my anger, not even me. I had gone through a long period of denying my feelings, not knowing I was also denying myself the chance to feel better.

We now know that to feel better, we must first feel. Feel whatever emotion you need to for 90 seconds. Bolte Taylor has a name for this idea: She calls it the 90-second rule. “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.

“Whether it is my fear circuitry or my anger circuitry or even my 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.”

If you would like to watch Bolte Taylor discuss the science behind the way our brain functions, check out her TED Talk.  Then, find a quiet, comfortable space to feel for 90 seconds. Finally, enjoy the Peace.



  1. Natasha says:

    I remember reading an article a year or so ago about ways to deal with anxiety, and one suggestion was to allow yourself a window of time to worry each day – so, if the time slot was 5:00pm-5:30pm, any worries that came up prior to that half-hour had to be shelved until the timer began. I don’t think I ever tried it, but it did make sense. I like this 90 second rule better, though…it’s dealing with the feeling in the moment in which it’s happening, but giving yourself the chance to consider where it’s coming from, fully feel it, and move on.

    Thank you for sharing your high school story. While I didn’t have the same experience as you, I did spend four years putting a great big smile on my face so nobody knew that I was in agony when I wasn’t at school – when I was home with a verbally abusive, raging alcoholic mother. I was constantly anxious and depressed, but SO ANGRY as well. I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. I didn’t deserve to have to wear a mask all day long because I didn’t have anyone in my life to tell me it was OK to be mad, and I had a right to be mad. Anger and women – not a popular pairing in our society, huh?

    I will try this 90 second rule. Thanks so much for your awesome posts – they really hit home with me. Honestly. ;)

    • admin says:

      Yes Yes Yes! I think there is such power in just recognizing the emotion you are feeling, too. Knowing you are angry is liberating, no?

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