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 Post subject: ‘emotional jogging.’
 Post Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 2:33 am 
Why your emotions need a workout


IF you want a man to fall in love with you, ensure that you share a moment of intense and horrifying terror. Sharing a moment of heightened emotion with someone will bond you faster than anything else. Emotions make us feel alive — even when they aren’t particularly pleasant. This is ‘emotional jogging.’

The phrase was coined by Rolf Jensen of the Copenhagen Institute of Future Studies. "Just as we exercise our muscles, in the future we’ll work out our emotions," he says. He believes we’ll want to experience emotional highs (and lows), without them disrupting our lives too much.


But why? The answer is that in some ways, life for many of us, is just too easy now. Our lifestyles no longer stretch us physically, which is why so many of us choose to pound the streets in search of physical fitness. Similarly, our relatively safe world doesn’t allow us to experience the emotional highs and lows that come with extreme poverty and widespread ill health and war.

A good thing, of course, but increasing affluence means our expectations of life have broadened too, and we’re terrified of dying without experiencing everything there is to offer. We want to create seconds, minutes, hours when we feel more love, hate, excitement, disappointment, fear, exhilaration — any emotion as long as ‘it is intense. This will lead to new ways of relating to one another, says Rolf Jensen.

Emotional joggers are everywhere: Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman stripped for audiences of The Blue Room - for $ 700 a week; and Virgin Airlines and Record’s owner Richard Branson’s obsession with ballooning demonstrates a real need for exciting risk.

In future, we’ll want to experience more intense emotions with our partner and kids. One way we’ll do this will be by building little rituals into our days that will reinforce our togetherness. For example, lighting lots of candles every time we eat dinner.


This need for intense emotions is just one more example of the dramatic shift in zeitgeist. Since the Middle Ages, logic, rationalism and academic learning have been consistently top dog in our evaluation of human qualities — but not so any more.

Rolf Jensen puts it this way: "The one-sided deification of the IQ is a thing of the past. The valuable person of the future will be a virtuoso at acquiring and conveying knowledge, and at improving the environment."

At work, that means the most useful people will be those who can relate to their colleagues.

This shift was identified in the ground­breaking book, Emotional Intelligence. Its author, Daniel Goleman, recognised that academic intelligence alone is not enough, that social skills and the ability to communicate with others are just as important.

Emotional jogging sounds wonderful, of course, but there could be repercussions for some.

The pursuit of new emotional challenges could come at the expense of a relationship.

Rolf Jensen warns that while extreme emotion can be a bonding experience, some couples won’t be doing the bonding with one another. In the belief that they are entitled to extreme emotions, some partners may get their ‘highs’ via affairs, divorce and new relationships, which will prove irresistible to those who never get over needing the rush of early love. But there are legitimate ways of gaining that ‘high.’

Intensifying the experience

SPORT: According to Rolf Jensen, we’ll be spending more time in big crowds. He explains the age-old enthusiasm for football as proof of our need for emotional jogging. Plugging into an emotion with 10,000 others is an intense experience. This need to feel intensely alive has also prompted the fetish for ‘extreme’ sport. In fact, more women are getting interested in rock-climbing, and bungee jumping is becoming increasingly popular with 20-somethings.

MUSIC: You go to music concerts and festivals, not just for the music — ‘losing’ yourself along with thousands of other people can give you a real high.

SPIRITUAL: Be they born-again Christians or New Age gurus, if they move us, we want them.

FUN: Theme parks and adventure playgrounds like Disneyland will increase in number and become even more sophisticated.

Heightening the experience:

There are some moments in life where we don’t have to try too hard to feel a lot. Now we’ll be putting even more effort into ensuring that these experiences more than live up to our expectations.

WEDDINGS: Compare the pragmatic weddings of the ’70s with today’s lavish spectacles. The emotional significance is underlined with romantic symbols at every juncture, from handmade invitations to rose petals fluttering down on the happy couple.

HOLIDAYS: These will be more exotic, more off-the-wall, more expensive.

EATING OUT: A coffee bar qualifies as a ‘perfect moment’ company — no cups of weak instant here. Theme restaurants will also be popular because they offer more of an experience.

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