Mindful moment… 90-second emotions

Feelings can pass in just 90 seconds

When something bad happens to me or I am worried about something, I have two reactions: I open a bottle of wine and I switch on the television.

These are my two favourite ways of numbing - or rather running away - from my feelings. But this only makes the bad feelings last longer, according to Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, who talks about the '90-second emotion'.

She argues that if you just sit quietly and allow yourself to feel your feelings without fighting them, judging them, or creating big stories around them - the feeling will pass in just 90 seconds. Yes, just 90 seconds. It sounds like no time at all but it's amazing how few of us will even allow ourselves this space to feel what we're feeling.

Being flooded with guilt, worry, pain, sadness for 90 seconds is not fun but it is far more effective and healthy than denial.

So that's what I'm doing right now: sitting on the sofa, letting myself feel sadness for a friend who is sick. Then I'll pick myself up and get back on with life.

* Marianne Power is the author of helpmeblog.net