What is Mental Fitness: Part III

IMG_0055…Continued from Part II

Given the stigma associated with anything related to mental health, we must approach emotional and mental health in a different way. Ergo…mental fitness.  I think this term appropriately positions the concept away from the medical model that is illness-based.  Rather than thinking about emotional and mental health as needing to Continue reading

What is Mental Fitness? Part I

IMG_0055I am passionate about a concept that I call Mental Fitness.  It is interesting to me that we focus on so many other aspects of ourselves such as physical fitness, spiritual health and our ability to be productive in our careers.  Yet, the concept of mental fitness has been almost completely ignored. The skills to make and keep us mentally fit are not systematically taught in our formative or adult years.  Doesn’t this seem odd? Continue reading

Happiness is Hand Made

happiness, peace, contentmentWhat is authentic happiness?  I know a lot of people have different ideas about what should make us happy.  But when you start peeling away the layers, it is often not what you think.  It is certainly not money, because honestly, the millionaires who visit my office can be some of the most unhappy people I’ve ever met.  It’s not really relationships because there are people who are adored by millions, have loving spouses and doting children and yet they commit suicide.  It’s not really possessions because objects and material possessions wear out and Continue reading

What Are Emotions Anyway? Part VII

emotions, anger, anxiety, depressionContinued from Part VI

The whole point of this discussion thread is to realize that we put romantic, culture and moral dimensions to emotions when at the core, they are a necessary component to our physical existence and driven by biological needs.  The underpinning of emotions is to get us to take some sort of action, whether this is to quickly and intensely orient toward potential danger or excitement, engage with others for social Continue reading

What Are Emotions Anyway? Part VI

emotions, anger, anxiety, depressionContinued from Part V

Finally, let’s consider love and surprise.  The biological call for action for love is unqualified attachment. The mind and body is driven to attach and protect, often in unreasonable ways, for the purpose of social connection and/or intimacy (i.e., herd behavior) or for protecting offspring.  Unqualified attachment can result in harm to the individual self while pursing social connection or protecting others to whom we Continue reading

What Are Emotions Anyway? Part V

emotions, anger, anxiety, depressionContinued from Part IV

What about the emotional response of interest or excitement?  The biological call for action in this case is engagement, meaning to be interested enough to move toward something and engage with it.  In this case, the mind and body is attracted to and stimulated by self (internal stimulation), another person, an object or interest or an exciting situation or opportunity.  The drive moves you toward, not Continue reading

What Are Emotions Anyway? Part IV

emotions, anger, disgust, anxiety, fear, depression…Continued from Part III

Now let’s consider anger.  The biological call for action with anger is rebellion against or over rejection of a particularly troubling circumstance.  The mind and body perceives the current situation to be so bad or dangerous to the physical or mental self that fight is necessary.  It is the opposite of freeze.  Examples include: Continue reading

What are Emotions Anyway? Part III

emotions, fear, anger, sadness, anxiety…Continued from Part II

Despite the meaning we impose on emotional experience and expression, the reality is that emotions are a biological call for action.  This means that each base emotion arises from and is driven by a need to take some sort of action in service of our physical preservation or well-being.

Continue reading

What Are Emotions Anyway? Part II

emotions, anger, sadness, anxiety…Continued from Part I

In this way, we are taught on a cultural level what is acceptable or expected in terms of emotional expression.  Culture and individual families also make a distinction between what is acceptable for males and females in terms of the recognition and expression of emotions. It may be acceptable for males to express anger, frustration and elation in some cultures, while other emotions are discouraged as not being “manly” such as anxiety, sadness or overt Continue reading