Are we in control of our emotions? Well, sort of. Spontaneous chemical reactions in the brain/body that occur in response to an environmental (or self initiated) stimulus are uncontrollable. BUT, the ability to regain control of these emotional states returns in less than two minutes. So, in a sense, we choose how long our external environments affect our internal states and emotions.
“Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., author of My Stroke of Insight, says that the biological time-span of an emotion is 90 seconds. That is the time it takes for your body to sense some event, for the brain to process it, and for the noradrenalin to flush out of your system.”
How can that be? There have been numerous occasions where someone at work or on the road or at home has completely ruined the day with their words or actions! The truth is, we chose to let that situation manifest in our minds and cause ourselves to remain in a negative state far longer than our biology would.
It is hard to prevent negative emotions from occurring, but it is important to try and mitigate the tendency to exacerbate the situation in our minds. Recognize the state change, address it, and then try moving on because when 2 minutes pass, the body is telling your mind it’s ready to!
Here are a few ways to help the moving on process:
Change your environment – physically remove yourself from the situation and engage in some other activity
Change your physiology – physically alter the way you are moving, standing, talking, etc. by exercising, laughing, smiling, singing (anything positive will tell the brain to change your state, even if you aren’t “feeling” like any doing of those)
Relax – breathe deeply, sit down, close your eyes and focus on someone/something you love
Anger and stress are unavoidable emotions that occur randomly in our everyday lives, but the long term effects they can have on the body certainly are avoidable. Recognize angry situations and consciously take action to change them because persistent negative states can lead to poor health as a result.
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