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The 90 Second Rule

90 seconds is all it takes...

...for an emotion to dissipate after you've noticed it and allowed it to soften.

This ☝ is according to famed Harvard brain scientist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor.

While Dr. Taylor's work is MUCH more in-depth than this simple statement and I am nowhere near qualified to explain it all, I think there's something that can be pulled from it to apply to the work of doing hard things.

Managing The Emotions of Doing Hard Things

Let's say you start out on a challenging task.

Everything is going fine until things start to get tough.

Then your emotions get involved -- stress, frustration, confusion, and all of their friends come out to play.

What if instead of giving up and abandoning the task, you named the unsettling feeling, sat with the feeling for the 90 seconds it takes for the stress chemicals to leave your body, and allowed it to soften?

We can handle 90 seconds, right?

I think it might help to also:

▶ Become aware of what your typical emotional responses to doing challenging work are (frustration, confusion, irritation, helplessness, etc.)

▶ Identify how they feel in your body so you know what to look for

▶ Expand your emotional vocabulary to specifically name the emotion

▶ Avoid judging yourself for experiencing the emotion

▶ Practice sitting with these difficult emotions without trying to change them, push them down, or distract yourself to ease the discomfort

What other tips do you have for handling stressful emotions without giving up?

Jen Laffin is an Accountability & Empowerment Coach for women, a master teacher, host of The Flight School Podcast, a possible thinker, and a recovering procrastinator. She teaches women how to get the results their inner critic is telling them they can't so that they can do the things that they've always wanted. To learn more, visit, or find Jen on Linkedin and Instagram.


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