Mindfulness is helping millions of people around the world find a sense of inner calm and resiliance.
How much of your day is dictated by negative emotions? Is stress, anxiety and fear living rent free in your mind? I can relate completely. Stress is my absolute default. It's my base-line and my absolute given. Once I'm gone, I'm gone. I find it very hard to claw my way back out. Mindfulness has truly changed everything though. It's given me a new lense to see the world through and most importantly it's given me a new lense to see myself.
What if I told you that the remedy for daily stress is as simple as ninety seconds? I wouldn't have believed it either, but it really is. The ninety second mindfulness rule is changing people's lives and it really is so very simple.
For many people the point of mindfulness is to find a sense of inner calm. Sometimes it can be mistaken for certain forms of meditation which might require quiet or to be in a state where you have no thoughts. Mindfulness is the ability to accept and be OK with the present moment, regardless of what that moment entails. That moment could be loud, busy or physically painful. There are so many benefits to a calmer mind such as overall sense of better wellbeing.
Neuroscientists that champion the field of mindfulness have found that ninety is the magic number. Science shows us that when we have an emotion a chemical process happens in the body that lasts about ninety seconds. Anything outside of that timespan is the person choosing to keep that emotion alive.
According to neuroanatomist Dr Jill Bolte Taylor 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"
This is a really difficult thing to swallow because it implies that we are choosing to bathe in a feeling that we do not enjoy experiencing. What helped me was to flip that on it's head and take it as something really empowering. If the control lies within me then I know I can do this.
According to Taylor the thoughts we experience after the ninety seconds are connected to us feeding that emotion by having a strong response level to it. For example - we experience the emotion of fear and rather than let it wash over us, acknowledge it and let the body "discard" it, we feed it by adding to the story, delving in to hypotheticals and moving deeper and deeper in to that particular emotion.
The next time you feel a particular emotion, such as stress, Taylor recommends you do the following.
- Don't deny the feeling. Feel it, name it and acknowledge it.
- Don't give in to it. You can notice it, feel it but choose to let it leave you after ninety seconds.
- Give your brain something else to do for ninety seconds. Count, tap, or practice deep breathing for example.
- Move your thoughts away from the topic that is causing you stress. You can do this by using your senses for example listen to something that shifts your mood or smell something that makes you happy.