90 Second Tantrum

Hey Soulmate,

I just had a tantrum at IKEA. Don’t worry, I made it to the car before I started screaming and crying and then laughing at what seemed to be happening to me or through or me. It only lasted 90 seconds and then I felt silly, a little pouty, and then I forgot about it. According to my hero, most-watched TED talker, and Neuroanatomist, Jill Bolte-Taylor, 90 seconds is all it takes to let a mini-emotional storm pass through.

When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90 second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop. Something happens in the external world and chemicals are flushed through your body which puts it on full alert. For those chemicals to totally flush out of the body it takes less than 90 seconds. This means that for 90 seconds you can watch the process happening, you can feel it happening, and then you can watch it go away. After that, if you continue to feel fear, anger, and so on, you need to look at the thoughts that you’re thinking that are re-stimulating the circuitry that is resulting in you having this physiological response over and over again.” – Jill Bolte-Taylor


Imagine what the DMV and IKEA might look like if we all took 90 seconds to honor our emotional reactions to whatever nonsense we are experiencing. It would look super weird and funny, much like a loony-bin I imagine,  but I wonder how it might impact our overall experience. Instead of waiting for the pressure to build and then freaking out on our loved ones or waiting for our hour of therapy, everywhere becomes a spiritual center. You don’t have to go to Bali or India, getting a traffic ticket will do.

I’ve been around babies a bit lately and watching their face is like watching a Doppler weather map where clouds, sun, rain, and snow are simultaneously flitting across the screen. They are little emotional weather systems. What is telling is how we react. We can know, for a fact, that all their needs are being met but when a baby cries it feels like a personal affront to the knight inside. “I must make it stop by any means necessary!” I have a theory that we remain a multifaceted weather system but instead of allowing the weather we build a biosphere around ourselves.

(I just googled “emotional weather system” and found this! EmoFlux is a system by artist Gil Park that visualizes the emotional flow as a weather pattern. It allows the audience to see the emotional circulation and distribution across the country and the neighborhoods that they live in.)

Soulmate, I don’t want you to think I am “crazy” or “drama”, god forbid I lose control (which I am actively seeking btw), but I have to be honest that at times there will be tantrums. There will be times when energy runs through me at every temperature and all I need are a few minutes to allow it, instead of judge it. It will probably be super helpful if you don’t judge it either but listen, you be you. I just wanted to let you know in case you needed a little permission to feel too.

Love, Me

90 Second Tantrum