Emotional fitness involves understanding and implementing the following skills and theories into your life:
- body grip
- facial motility
- emotions obey physical laws and are rational
- stored emotion
- the four coherent emotions.
By the end of this presentation you will have some idea of what each of these is about. This is a summary of the EmotFit series of presentations available on Youtube.
Relaxation is a skill
At the foundation of emotional fitness is learning and knowing how to relax. We define this as a skill, because it is a skill. There are definite relaxation exercises that you can learn and if you practice relaxation regularly then you will get better at it. Fundamental to this is regularly practising relaxation in as many different kinds of situations in the world as you can, such as before a job interview or exam, or waiting in a queue, so that you can condition yourself to automatically respond to those situations with a relaxed state.
To help with learning how to relax, it is important to understand the two antithetical parts of the human nervous system, the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic and how you can use this knowledge to learn how to breathe in a way that promotes relaxation.
Emotional fitness and relaxation skill are not possible without an understanding of good posture, which includes standing, sitting or lying down. We provide some insight into what good posture might be and what to do to obtain it.
Muscle, tendon and bone configuration
We delve further into posture and examine something we call your muscle, tendon and bone configuration, which determines the structure of the body. We identify two types of body structure, habitual and held. Habitual structure is the muscle, tendon and bone configuration that the body exhibits when in a relatively relaxed state. This structure is held in place by the tendons and is relatively stable over time. If you have a poor structure then you will have a poor posture, which will negatively affect breathing, ability to relax and emotional fitness in general. Held structure is a body configuration that we can adopt temporarily, with a little effort, as part of trying to change our habitual structure. Habitual structure can be improved over time with the right exercises and level of dedication and effort, something which EmotFit emotional fitness is all about.
Stretch and hold
In order to improve habitual structure we can carry out certain stretch and hold exercises, since these are the kinds of exercises that stretch the tendons and alter the configuration of parts of the body. The characteristics of tendons can only be altered slowly and with frequent and regular repetition of these exercises over a period of time.
All kinds of bodywork can help improve and maintain human bodily functionality, but we focus on slow moving or static techniques like Yoga which use stretch and hold exercises. Yoga positions involving stretching the body into certain poses and then holding that pose for a number of minutes. When the exercise is done regularly usually it leads to it becoming easier and easier to do and the body becomes more flexible.
In EmotFit emotional fitness we focus on two parts of the body, the upper torso and the face.
Body grip involves focusing on the upper torso and encouraging strengthening of the intercostal muscles to create a more robust and better connected chest structure. Such a chest provides a firm foundation upon which all bodily activities can be carried out with greater precision and success. The body grip exercise itself is a very simple one which can be carried out in any number of places, but some effort is required to understand what body grip is and how it might be so fundamental to emotional fitness and human functionality,
Facial expressiveness / motility
The other area of the body which is important to emotional fitness and human functionality is the face. The role that the face plays in interpersonal communication is immense. The obvious one is facial expression, but also, usually linked to that, and to the firmness of the upper torso, the tone and timbre of the human voice. The muscle, tendon and bone configuration in the face create the passages that sound passes through and resonates from after being generated by the vocal chords. The nature of those passages helps determine qualities of the person's voice, whether it is pleasant, resonant, timid, convincing, constricted, dischordent, or thin. As with body grip, facial motility / expressiveness can be improved with exercises that change the underlying configuration.
Emotions have certain characteristics, that we need to understand to help us to change the way that we use them and enhance our fitness.
Emotions obey physical laws
The first thing we need to understand is that emotions are physical events that take place within our bodies, and that negative and positive emotions tend to occur in rhythm with each other. We use an example of a skydiver, who has an intense experience of fear and agitation while falling through the sky, but once safely in the ground is overcome with an opposing intense feeling of euphoria. The body has a natural homeostatic system that constantly seeks equilibrium. Once we understand this we can be certain that whenever we fall into a deep despondency, we will naturally, over time, recover from it, because that is how nature works. It is also useful to argue that emotions obey the third law of motion, which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Emotions are rational
Many of us might have been brought up to think that emotions are irrational. However, if emotions obey natural laws of action reaction, then they are rational. They are part of an ordered world and have their own reason and logic. For the sake of EmotFit we define emotions as the sum total of all the physical, chemical, biological and social rhythms going on in the body, and the individual's interaction with their immediate environment at any given time.
This is where the third law of motion comes into play. For every emotional action against us, there is a (while usually not very equal) response from us. Some people are able to respond immediately and resolve the transfer of energy quickly, but others are not able to, and this might lead to the emotional energy being stored somewhere in the body. We hypothesise the the most likely location of the emotional storage is the intestines, whose physical characteristics lend them to being a very good electrical capacitor or storage component.
Processing, channelling emotion
Emotions that are stored in the body can be processed and the released energy channelled constructively. There are a lot of different methods of processing, such as counselling, personal reflection and various forms of psychotherapy, but we do not dwell on any of them because there is already a massive industry focused on these. We are only interested in the channelling of emotions once they have been processed, with a focus on channelling that into improving body grip and facial motility.
Coherent and incoherent emotion
Some emotions are more coherent and constructive than others. We focus on four coherent emotions: happiness, sadness, love and anger. Both sadness and anger are healthy emotions and should not be repressed; they are an important part of the emotional biorhythm. They are also the emotions most suitable for channelling. We all express emotions differently but there are a lot of physiological features of the emotions that we all share and can learn from each other.
There is much to be gained by discussing what we mean by happiness as an emotion, either in groups or through individual reflection. It is ironic that in our culture we have a tendency to imbibe what is essentially a depressant, alcohol, when we are celebrating or happy about something.
In EmoFit theory we associate sadness with loss and it can be used to channel the body into a relaxed state and to develop relaxation as a skill. When something is lost, it is important to go back emotionally to a place where you were without it and start afresh and the best place for that is a state of relaxation.
Anger is associated with the presence of excess amounts of energy and this can be readily used to channel into making physiological changes to body grip and facial motility, with the consequent improvements in functionality and emotional fitness that is the subject of emotional fitness theory. We note that coherent emotions such as anger are not with us all the time, but only appear periodically, and we have to be prepared for their arrival so that we can capture this energy and use it constructively.
Love is many things, but in this emotional fitness theory we view it as a spectrum from lust to pure love, where the latter is of the kind which a parent might have for a child. Love definitely has to be associated with sex hormones, but there are plenty of occasions where the same emotion occurs in their absence. Love occurs between couples, within families, across communities, religious congregations and nation states, where individuals are called upon to participate emotionally in events that help bind people together as a civilisation or society.
That is an overview of what we mean by emotional fitness. In a nutshell, EmotFit technology involves improving your emotional fitness and consequently your functionality by channelling episodes of sadness and anger into making improvements to your habitual upper torso and facial muscle, tendon and bone configurations. You won't find any of this in text books or on the internet, except on my Youtube channel and website, because as far as I know, this is all new technology and is the result of a lifetime of research and personal experience. I am now dedicating whatever time I have left on this planet, to bringing what I have learnt to as many people who care to know about it at a website I have set up at https://practice.emotfit.com.