“Mental and physical reactions come and go
Like clouds in the empty sky;
Greed, hatred, and ignorance appear and disappear
Like bubbles on the surface of the sea.” – Yongjia Xuanjue
Did you know that the average emotion lasts for no more than 90 seconds?
Most people respond to this with skepticism; I know I did. You can probably think of times when you were sad for hours. Likely, that was because you were continuing to experience triggers; internal triggers, like self-judgement, or external triggers, like verbal abuse. Research shows that if you are able to sit with your emotions in non-judgmental acceptance, they will dissipate in a minute and a half or less.
Don’t believe me? Try it. Find somewhere comfortable to sit or lay down, and close your eyes. Name your emotions – sadness? Anger? Frustration? Disappointment? Hopelessness? Guilt? Shame? (Of course, you can also try this exercise with positive emotions like joy, happiness, excitement, calm, and so on).
After you’ve narrowed down the primary emotion you’re feeling, identify the location of the emotion in your body. Does it feel like a lump in your throat? A heaviness or tightness in your chest? A sinking feeling in your stomach? A tension in your neck or shoulders?
Continue to monitor the sensations in your body. If you notice self-judgement or wandering thoughts, gently bring your focus back to these sensations. Notice if they move or change. Notice if the intensity of the feeling increases, decreases, or stays the same. Continue to notice until the physical sensations melt away.
This exercise, like any other, takes practice! So if you have difficulty or questions the first few times through, don’t worry. Feel free to comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.
Have a mindful Monday.