According to neuroscientist and stroke survivor Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD., feelings generated by negative stimulus don’t have to last more than 90 seconds.
I’ll let Martha Beck explain it:
“Physiologically, it takes only 90 seconds of feeling the emotion caused by a negative event before the body finishes processing its stress hormones and returns to its baseline setting.”
According to Dr. Taylor,
“Unless you rerun that loop by rethinking the thoughts that restimulate the emotion…the uncomfortable feelings will go away.”
I actually think I saw this happen in my own body recently. I was putting together a video tribute to my late father and it got to me. My husband gave me a hug and I fell apart, but after a half-dozen good sobs, the negativity faded and I was able to return to my normal happy state.
Dr. Taylor is a neuroscientist who suffered a stroke, observed how it affected the destruction of her brain, and recovered to write and speak about the experience. If you have about 15 minutes, watch her preso at TED. It gets pretty emotional toward the end, but in a good way. She makes you feel hopeful about the great gift of being human.