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90 Seconds of Anger – 90 Seconds of Happiness

I read recently that European Medical Researchers have discovered from the moment the Gut tells you that you are to experience Anger or Happiness, the chemical reactions start taking place, the brain becomes aware, and the start of the departure of those chemicals from your system, as an adult, is about 90 seconds!  What this information means to me is that within a minute and a half one can be back in control of their thinking processes and use rational thinking modes to tame or celebrate their feelings.  Of course, if faced with a saber toothed tiger one might just choose to keep on running away, but when faced with an upset friend, one does not have to join in the emotional soup and that each person has a choice to make about their next thoughts and reactions.

It has been my observation that when faced with or experiencing anger, folks just keep the ball rolling in the negative self talk mode over and over again.  Their choice of thoughts and words is to keep the body pumped up and they repeat angry phrases and guilt messages at least for the next 30 minutes.  Lots of folks need someone to intervene to stop the angry thinking.  As a matter of fact, I believe there are Gold Medalists in the art of keeping the feelings alive and ongoing, even as they look like they have released the issues years later.  Have you ever met someone who just goes right back to the decade old anger in a flash when the right words are spoken or ideas suggested? Have you ever met anyone who gets just plain stuck in those experiences?

How do you handle those moments?

Then again, when we experience those 90 seconds of contented, blissful, joyous happiness we seem to let it go with such ease it is almost as if we don’t deserve it and have to get it out of our systems as fast as possible.  Apparently, it takes training and practice to learn how to hold on to those happy feelings and have them activated in your favor.  Those fleeting moments are so precious to your good health and equally as important for your survival, but so easy to evaporate.  Why just today, I was feeling the after swimming a mile satisfaction and I turned to the lifeguard and said, “Darn it! That took me 74 minutes today – I am so slow”  Instead of feeding me the line about having to get more resistance going, he said, “well you are putting in the time towards your wellness, so it’s time well spent. “  It brought me up short to see how quickly after feeling happy about my swim I had turned it into a negative.  I thought I had better practice holding on to my joy and sharing it myself.

How do you keep the happiness going in your life and making it useful? Do you want to be a Gold Medalist in happy thinking or in some other mode of thinking?  What are tools you use?

Just a note: when toddlers and young children over hear their safe people expressing anger their reactions and release of those reactions can take a much longer time, as they have not learn automatic negative thinking or how to fine tune their thoughts and emotions.  It can sometime take 4 to 6 hours for children to release their emotional cues and it can take years to learn how to use those cues correctly.

6 Responses to “90 Seconds of Anger – 90 Seconds of Happiness”

  1. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    This is fascinating. In 90 seconds we can change how we’re going to feel (and react). I find if I can remember to “let it go”, I can quickly put the negative moments behind me. I’m not one who gets angry often. Instead, I look at the whole situation and try to learn what I could have done differently.

    Learning to “catch” our emotions, certainly can help to turn the situation around.

    I love the advice the lifeguard gave you. He saw the positive in the situation. He’s a wise man.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..Plugins, Questions and Open Mic

  2. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia. I thoroughly enoyed this post! I found myself nodding when I read, “…when we experience those 90 seconds of contented, blissful, joyous happiness we seem to let it go with such ease it is almost as if we don’t deserve it and have to get it out of our systems as fast as possible.” That is sooo true.

    My mother was angry all the time and being a young child the only thing I could do was cry or leave the room.

    When I feel happy I glow. I remember to feel gratitude for it and that helps to ease the fear of losing it again.

    Thanks for this post.

    Davinas last blog post..I’m Over The Moon As NBOTW

  3. Patricia Says:

    I appreciate your comments today, thank you for writing.
    I have a friend who says at least two negative comments about herself every morning at exercise class. I now count and then make her say 6 nice things about herself before she moves off topic.
    What a difference in her outlook in a months time.

    I find making a list with 2 columns helpful for me when I catch myself dwelling on the negative…it has a 4 positive comments to 1 negative ratio and that helps me slow the downward slide

    I understand you are in Vancouver BC. Some of my family lives there and in Victoria.

    One really has to work to get “over” angry people in their lives, I know first hand :)

    Welcome, Welcome and again thank you for your nice words

    Patricias last blog post..Book Review: Blink ~Malcolm Gladwell

  4. The Ants Go Marching 10 by 10 – patriciaswisdom.com Says:

    […] having a stroke helped her to control her thinking and helped her make her life better.  And in 90 seconds of Anger, 90 seconds of Happiness (archived post), I attempt to explain the new research on how we think and use our emotions in the […]

  5. Ben Manley, M.A. MFLC Says:

    What is the term used to refer to this 90 second period?

  6. patricia Says:

    Ben Manley,
    I have been hunting around this morning to find a term that was used in the research I did and have only found the words RELEASE of the hormone or CIRCULATE IN – Adrenaline primarily…..and then the researchers used the term – Circulate OUT….for the 90 seconds

    One researcher suggests using eating a piece of bread to absorb the rush of hormones…and a fellow on a blog I read yesterday suggests training yourself to Laugh and find humor in the situation to relieve it – sometimes this just must be in your head…as tools to take control…

    No specific term…maybe we could develop one to use?
    Thank you for your comment and welcome