MEERA Lester and Murdoc Khaleghi quoted Shannon Miller in their book Healthiest You Ever (2011), writing, “Gymnastics uses every single part of your body, every little muscle that you never even knew.”
Emotion is like gymnastics. When a gymnast, for instance, performs a tumble, she needs to do it in an explosive way—a series of flips, twists downs, and then upward springs. The mind must be quick enough, the muscles flexible enough, and the bones strong enough to handle the explosive circular movement of the body.
One critical function of emotions is to focus the mind and motivate the body for rapid actions in order to adeptly respond to any immediate threat either to life or well-being. Under intense emotional state, the mind ignores other facts but those related to the threat at hand. Emotions serve the instinct of “fight or flight.” They allow the person to be mentally and physically prepared to promptly act in response to the changing demands of the threats.
If you experienced extreme emotions in the past, such as fury or fear, you will remember that, even after the threat has passed or has been dealt with, your mind and body continue to be revved up for at least five minutes before calming down.
Emotional change in response to eliciting events constitutes a normal part of life. However, when the person fails to or resists his return to emotional equilibrium after the event has passed, psychological functioning becomes unhealthy. At least four studies from 2008 to 2015 indicated that such resistance may lead to emotion disorders such as depression.
Suppose you are driving while leisurely listening to music from your car stereo, and then a driver cuts you off so close you think you are going to hit him.
Quickly your emotion shifts in a fraction of a second from that of leisure and joy into extreme alarm. That happened because your mind updated your awareness from pleasurable safety to life-and-death danger. If you stay on that furious state, you may ventilate your anger toward other drivers and end up hitting them instead. Although it is healthy to be able to update the mind to recognize threat, a person needs to re-update the same mind into a state before the threats came up when the threat has passed. Not doing so will develop into an unhealthy obsession. Only re-updating the mind can bring back the person to his leisurely state of mind before the threat occurred.
Caroline Cameron quoted Jonathan Martensson in her book The Great Life Redesign (2010): “Feelings are much like waves. We can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.”