In the '70s, there was a media fad I remember fondly: Marcel Marceau. He became the rage for quite a while, making appearances on numerous talk shows and in big media events.
What Marcel Marceau did was quite simple, but he was simply amazing at doing what he did. He would captivate audiences everywhere with his ability to mime.
When he did his skits, you both saw and felt what he was doing. A mime does not talk, but instead uses the body and face to communicate and express emotion. I remember one skit where an event made the mime sad. His sadness was so well expressed it felt completely real. Decades later, I still remember that expression.
Mime has much to do with emotional fitness. Miming will become a critical tool in your tool kit as you accelerate in your emotional fitness. Miming allows your body to feel the emotion passively, but as in the last exercise, it also allows you to fully engage and expand your body's ability to experience and express an emotion. Since this is something you need to experience in order to understand, I am going to ask you to do some miming.
Before we begin, honestly assess which one of the following two categories you are in:
The Wishers Category: These wish they could be emotionally fit. They wish they could feel or master their emotions but they are unwilling to do the work. A weight wisher is someone who wants to lose weight but does not change habits or do the work necessary to lose weight. Weight wishers will not lose weight. They want magic to change them instead of taking personal responsibility to make changes to get the real results.
The Wanters Category: These people make a plan, do the work and keep doing the work until the results arrive. Unlike the wishers, they take personal responsibility, refuse to make excuses, and so always get the results they want. I believe that if you are this far in the book, you must want emotional fitness.
When you mime, it is best for you to be alone so you can in no way be inhibited or self-conscious. Put your body in a position to express an emotion. For example, if you were expressing excitement, you might stand up with your arms raised while you let excitement run through your entire body.
You can sit, stand, lie down or put your body in any position to express an emotion. Remember, acting as a mime would, you will use your face to express the emotion. So much so that if someone were to look at you, they could probably guess the emotion you are experiencing.
It is important that when you actually feel the emotion in your body that you hold the feeling for 15 seconds (make sure to use a timer). Then take a five-second break. After the break, go back to that same emotion until you feel it in your body again. Repeat the miming process until you feel it in your body for 15 seconds. Then take your last break and stop miming the emotion.
For example, first we are miming the feeling of excitement. Excited (held for 15 seconds), break, excited (held for 15 seconds), break, excited (held for 15 seconds). As you do each mime, try to allow your body to express the emotion more each time.
This exercise is powerful for you and your body. Over time, you can go through every emotion on the Feelings list, and you will be extremely connected to your emotions—more connected than you ever imagined.
Find a place to be by yourself, locate a way to time yourself, and then practice miming the six emotions listed below. We will do the same six feelings you just completed in the feeling the emotion exercise.
You can feel! Your body can feel! You can learn to feel, and you can learn as much as you want. To help you move more toward emotional fitness, carve out 15 minutes a day to do five mimes. In one month, your ability to feel emotions in your body will expand greatly. You will no longer fear emotions; you will be able to actually feel them. You can become more emotionally confident and expressive in just 30 days.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including, Emotional Fitness. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on his Facebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at [email protected].
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