Let me ask you this: Are you in tune with your emotional connection to others?
Odds are you struggle in this area, and you might not even have a clue what emotional intelligence means. But, you soon will.
I’m sure that most people live their entire life misunderstanding and being disconnected from the people closest to them because they lack emotional intelligence.
For example, when you don’t understand how to be emotionally intelligent, you might mistake someone’s anger for their sadness.
Would you react differently if you thought someone felt anger compared to sadness? Of course you would.
On the flip side, would they appreciate it if you understood their emotions and supported them through it? Most definitely.
But unfortunately this emotional disconnection goes on in every relationship you name across the board—friend and friend, parent and child, husband and wife, brother and sister, manager and employee—as people are having trouble relating to one another.
So what’s the big deal? Well I interviewed Dr. David Puder, the creator of the Emotion Connection app, to tell us about his app that addresses this issue and to discuss the importance of emotional intelligence. As the saying goes, there’s an app for that.
Brian: Tell me about the Emotion Connection app?
David: I created this app so people could have concrete ways to learn how to connect with each other. I made it like a game, rather than a bunch of text to study. It is a series of videos that I recorded, then cut into clips that capture real microexpressions.
A microexpression is a mini-moment of emotion on someone’s face; it may be as small as a twitch of the eyebrows and nose, but it can tell you so much about that other person’s emotional experience.
On the app, as you study the microexpression videos, you will be prompted to choose the emotion they are displaying from a list at the bottom of the screen. If you guess wrong, you get another guess. The app will then explain to you what facial expression you are seeing, how it looks on the face, and the corresponding emotion the person is feeling. It helps you be able to read people’s facial expressions and, in a way, enter their emotional experience.
Brian: How would this help someone have success?
David: When you are able to catch brief moments of emotion, you can better understand someone else’s experience. It can even help you understand yourself and the emotions you are having in your own body.
When we are unaware of our own experiences, we can tend to be unaware of other’s moment by moment emotions as well.
When I began to study microexpressions and emotional connection, and I realized how much microexpressions and understanding them is related to empathy, and how much empathy is important to connection, I realized how crucial it is to connect with what someone is feeling to develop deeper relationships. Studying this has even helped me in my marriage, in being a good father, and in being a good doctor.
Brian: Are you not busy enough as a psychiatrist, why spend your time to develop this?
David: I am busy, but emotional connection and developing better relationships is something that is important to me both personally and professionally. I know I can only see a certain amount of therapy patients in a day, and I can only lecture to or train so many psychiatrists in a year. I wanted to develop a way that others could have access to these lessons.
Having healthy relationships helps people. People I work with as patients, and even medical students and residents that I teach in my hospital, can improve their ability to relate to one another.
Some people think connection comes down to an introvert or extrovert basis, or they experience a pattern of being socially awkward, or continually have failed relationships. People think it is an ethereal thing that they cannot learn. The app, and my upcoming website, changes that stigma.
You can actually learn the science of emotion and how it feels in you, and how it relates to other people. You can learn how to see what is going on in someone’s facial expressions and their emotions, and you can relate to them on that basis. I wanted people to know that they can and will develop deeper relationships if they take the time to study this; connection is something you can learn.
Brian: Ok, so if I play this thing, and master it, what would be the next step?
David: For the app, I used the clearest examples of facial expressions I could find in all of the video research I did for this project. The app is important, and it will help you get ready for the next level.
The next level will be joining EmotionConnection.com, the website I am developing to help people further their ability to connect through training, workbooks, video teaching and journaling. I begin with lessons on emotions and what they are, how they feel in our own bodies and their original purposes.
For example, we think of anger as a bad emotion, and when we are growing up, maybe we weren’t given a place for expressing anger in our home. But when we study anger and it’s purpose, it actually has a good purpose. The training will teach you how to identify and process anger, how to know why you are feeling it and what to do with that emotion.
Once we have worked through that in ourselves, we can then identify it more easily in others and be able to connect with them through empathy, and develop a deeper relationship with them, even through the process of understanding anger.
Brian: Let’s say I don’t want to buy the app, but just assess my abilities, where would I go to test that?
David: I have a small free quiz on Emotion Connection. It is easy to take, and it should help you be able to decide if you need the app. Most people who start with no training make around a 30%. This is shocking. It means we are missing out on plenty of information someone is sending us, which we could be using to better understand them.
Not understanding microexpressions is like only hearing about every fifth word in a conversation; it actually stunts our ability to communicate.
On the full website I will have more than 300 videos, and those videos will be much more nuanced. So think of the free quiz as the easiest option, the app as a decent training ground and way to improve the emotional identification process, and the website as the way to really understand connection and even emotional health.
Brian: Thank you so much for your time, any last thoughts on this?
David: I’m happy to answer these questions; I love helping people learn connection.
Anyone can do this. You don’t need to be a psychiatrist or someone who deals with social anxieties to need this. If you want to see better, you get glasses. If you want to lose weight, you work out. There are direct correlations between being proactive and good results. Connecting in relationships is an area you can put time in, and you can get the results you’d like to see. This app and website are for everyone and it can get you measurably healthier relationships.
Since I know Dr. Puder and his excellent work, I bought the Emotion Connection app as soon as it went live. In my free time (which isn’t much in my daily schedule), I open the app to practice my emotional intelligence. Then I give what I learned a go as I analyze people’s facial expressions throughout my day.
And I believe that’s one of the beauties about learning this skill: I can practice looking for microexpressions everywhere I go. I practice at work, with my friends, and even as I try to solve the mystery murder in a movie.
Do I tell people when I’m analyzing their face? Not usually, but I do it nonetheless.
While some subjects you learn in school are irrelevant the rest of your life, understanding microexpressions can help you every single day. That’s true unless you plan to live on Mars by yourself, then practicing this is a complete waste of time!
On a serious note, can you afford to only scratch the surface in your relationships because you continue to misunderstand other people’s emotions?
I know I don’t want to.
How’s your emotional intelligence? How useful would it be to pick up on the microexpressions of your friends, family, and significant other? Is there anything you want to ask Dr. Puder?
30 Day Plank Challenge: Plank For 5 Minutes On Last Day
Imagine how pumped up you’re going to be after you complete the 30 Day Plank Challenge? You’ll feel like a rockstar, with abs to prove your hard work.
What I appreciate about the plank is that it’s totally a matter of willpower when it comes to who is willing to get on the ground and do it and who is not.
You don’t need to be tall, fast, strong, or have any physical quality to do this activity. It just comes down to are you a hard worker or not?
This choice alone separates successful people from others in this physical arena and all areas of life, honestly—which I love.
It’s also always wise to test yourself every once in awhile. Since the last personal challenge on Take Your Success happened eight months ago (the gratitude challenge), there’s no more time for slacking.
So for this edition we’re going to be tackling the plank exercise for an entire month straight.
Before we get into the specifics of this challenge, you first need to know the many benefits of planking.
Health Benefits Of The Plank Exercise
I doubt you’re informed about all of the various ways your body thrives when you plank on a consistent basis.
Let’s change that and boost your motivation by learning the pros of staying in the plank position.
Strengthen your core – Planks are arguably the safest and best exercise to strengthen your body’s core since it activates all muscles in this area. Do this exercise enough and you’ll build strong inner core muscles that will pay off for daily function and a sexy appearance.
Flatten your abs – Not everyone wants a glorious six pack, but we could all use a more tightened stomach and abs for when we take our shirt off. Of course diet is more than half the battle for a smooth stomach, but don’t discredit the power of planking to flatten your abs and bring you more confidence about your physical appearance.
Better your posture – By planking, you improve the alignment of your spine, joints, and bones. This helps your body move more efficiently and healthy during every day activities. And better posture improves the first impression you give to others, your body’s energy, and, heck, sitting straighter at a work meeting could be the signal of confidence that persuades your boss to give you a raise.
Reduce back pain – We just covered how better posture improves how you present yourselves to others and feel every day. Though a straightened spine also means less back pain. This study finds that almost 80% of Americans will have back pain sooner or later. That’s a warning sign that we all should plank more often to reduce this nagging affliction.
Become more athletic – With a more stabilized core, your body’s coordination increases allowing your athleticism to improve. You don’t have to be an athlete to appreciate some extra athleticism whether it’s needed at the gym, a sports league with your friends, or some random work event that uses your core muscles.
Speed up your metabolism – Want to lose weight and burn more calories? The plank also delivers in this area, and does much better than crunches or regular ab exercises. The best part of this movement is that it forces your body to continue to burn calories long after you’re done with it, so you get to enjoy a sped up metabolic rate the rest of the day—even when you’re sleeping.
Decrease odds of injury – Doing the plank is wonderful from an injury-prevention perspective because it strengthens your body’s core while not putting too much pressure on your hips, spine, and back muscles. Plus a stronger core means your body has a bigger shield, in a sense, to prevent bodily injuries.
Improve your mood – When you exercise your core with a long and hard plank routine, you release stress from the nervous system to improve your overall mood. That’s why planking can ease your mental worries and lighten your depression since it gives your body an outlet for feeling mentally and physically weighed down.
How can you say you don’t love the plank exercise now? Make this exercise a part of your daily routine and all of those benefits come to you.
To help you follow through, follow an official daily schedule for one entire month.
30 Day Plank Challenge Rules
The goal of the regimented schedule below is to both build up the strength of your core and hold you accountable.
Stick with this schedule without missing a day and you’re going to be shocked at what you can physically accomplish in just one month.
Here’s the daily schedule to complete the 30 Day Plank Challenge:
- Day 1: 20 seconds
- Day 2: 20 seconds
- Day 3: 30 seconds
- Day 4: 30 seconds
- Day 5: 40 seconds
- Day 6: Rest
- Day 7: 45 seconds
- Day 8: 45 seconds
- Day 9: 1 minute
- Day 10: 1 minute
- Day 11: 1 minute
- Day 12: 1 ½ minutes
- Day 13: Rest
- Day 14: 1 ½ minutes
- Day 15: 1 ½ minutes
- Day 16: 2 minutes
- Day 17: 2 minutes
- Day 18: 2 ½ minutes
- Day 19: Rest
- Day 20: 2 ½ minutes
- Day 21: 2 ½ minutes
- Day 22: 3 minutes
- Day 23: 3 minutes
- Day 24: 3 ½ minutes
- Day 25: 3 ½ minutes
- Day 26: Rest
- Day 27: 4 minutes
- Day 28: 4 minutes
- Day 29: 4 ½ minutes
- Day 30: 5 minutes
Don’t be frightened by the thought of planking for 5 minutes on day 30. By that point you’ll have significantly strengthened your core and trained your mind to stick in there when things get tough.
The hardest part will be to actually get started and then maintain proper form while planking. The latter is what I’m going to cover next.
What’s Proper Planking Form?
You’ll defeat the purpose of this challenge and lose out on the physical benefits of planking if your form is terrible.
Keep it right and tight to maximize the core gains that are sure to come after you do the following routine, step-by-step for the next month.
This is proper plank form:
- Get into push-up position.
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms.
- Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line.
- Look at the floor and relax your head.
- Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form.
- Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate.
See what I mean that anyone can do it?
It’s a simple exercise when you consider the fact you need no gym equipment, no weights, no workout partner, and no specific environment to start planking and strengthening your core.
Exercises like this don’t discriminate from the poor who can’t afford fancy gyms, so no one has an excuse for why they can’t plank to get better.
Take It 1 Day At A Time
Like any great individual journey, you’ll perform best if you stay laser focused to take this challenge one day at a time.
It does you no good to worry about how you’re going to plank as long as you need to reach next week’s time when today is the only mission that matters. Stick to today, worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.
If it helps, know that I’m going to be busting my tail to complete this 30 Day Plank Challenge as well.
We’re in this together. You got this, I got this, and we got this!
How To Plank: Why This Is My Favorite Exercise!
Whether your motive is looking better with your shirt off, feeling more in shape, or strengthening your body, you’ll want to know how to plank.
It might change, but right now this is my favorite exercise on the planet.
Watch this short video to get a quick explanation of the plank and how to do it to perfection:
In case you didn’t watch the clip or catch the steps to do a perfect plank, here they are:
- Get into push-up position
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms
- Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line
- Look at the floor and relax your head
- Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form
- Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate
That’s all it takes to build your core and get stronger muscles. Isn’t the plank simple?
Plus you can plank daily to challenge your abs, where it’s not smart to do chest, biceps, or leg exercises daily. This is another W for the plank!
How often do you plank?
What’s your experience with it?
For how long can you plank without putting your butt in the air and arching your back?
Challenge yourself to start doing this weekly (it doesn’t have to be daily). Note how long you last, with good form, the first time you plank. Then take baby steps to feel the burn and go longer next time. And repeat this process.
Imagine how much progress you can make in 6, 12, and 18 months?
It’s for this reason that you better believe I’m planking tonight. Join me!
111 Reasons To Exercise
Not in a regular workout routine? Maybe the problem is you don’t realize the importance of physical activity. I’ll fix that with these 111 reasons to exercise.
You may not like reading this list because then you don’t have the excuse of ignorance. Sorry to bury your excuses.
After reading this it’ll just be pure laziness if you’re not exercising and pushing your body to get in shape. That’s 100% on you.
But I got faith in you. You can build this habit—slowly but surely—and become a more fit version of yourself.
Take it day by day. That’s the key. Don’t expect to lose 10 pounds in a week, then get frustrated you’re not seeing immediate progress. All good things take time.
Alright, let’s dive into every single reason to work out!
The Benefits Of Exercise
- Betters your quality of life
- Gives you more energy throughout the day
- Helps you fall asleep quicker at night
- Works to prevent the common cold
- Boosts productivity all day
- Improves your blood flow
- Provides endorphins to feel good
- Fights against depression
- Improves your social confidence
- Extends the amount of years you live
- Stimulates mental focus and concentration
- Lowers your body fat and weight
- Strengthens your immune system
- Presents opportunities to make new friends
- Increases testosterone
- Lessens risk of joint pain
- Tones and strengthens your skin
- Enhances your endurance
- Protects you against heart disease
- Lowers risk of some cancers
- Convinces you you’re stronger than you think
- Fights against dementia
- Motivates you to eat healthier
- Burns extra calories
- Provides a creative outlet
- Helps you feel sexier
- Drives more romance in your relationship
- Lowers cholesterol in a natural way
- Makes your dog healthier and happier with more walks
- Decreases your resting heart rate
- Instills discipline and self-control
- Teaches your kids to exercise
- Increases your work performance
- Adds a challenge to your day
- Strengthens your bones
- Develops your athletic ability
- Pushes you to take more risks
- Digests your food better
- Lowers risk of diabetes
- Lowers triglycerides
- Aids your immune system fighting infections
- Improves emotional stability
- Gives you a positive goal to attach your energy to
- Alleviates constipation
- Stimulates pain-releasing hormones
- Improves oxygen movement to the body
- Lowers the risk of osteoporosis
- Speeds up your metabolism
- Helps remove lactic acid in the body
- Develops a mindset of self improvement
- Straightens up your posture
- Provides a healthy habit to exercise more
- Develops flexibility and range of motion
- Makes it easier to fit into different types of clothes
- Gives you a social setting to meet like-minded people
- Helps you think positive
- Saves you doctor bills down the road
- Increases creativity
- Allows you to eat unhealthy without getting fat
- Makes you drink more water
- Protects your eyes and eyesight
- Creates a mentality of respecting your body
- Builds muscle tone
- Provides opportunities to test your willpower
- Fights against allergies
- Makes you look younger than you are
- Prepares you for change
- Increases fertility for making babies
- Improves body control
- Allows your brain to think more clearly
- Helps your body store glycogen
- Boosts your body’s production of good fat
- Gets you comfortable handling pressure
- Decreases appetite for sugary drinks and unhealthy food
- Adds muscle strength
- Makes you feel hungrier after a good workout
- Takes away guilt when you do relax
- Increases the odds you make more money
- Reduces blood pressure
- Teaches you a lesson in patience to see body progress
- Alleviates back pain
- Readies you for any reunion, wedding, or social gathering
- Improves breathing ability
- Gives you a chance at a six pack
- Instills belief that you can achieve your goals and follow through
- Eases menstrual cramps
- Gets you ready to run a marathon
- Improves your business network and connections
- Provides an excuse to wear and buy new exercise clothes
- Improves reaction time
- Presents opportunities to find new business ideas
- Makes for a free social activity
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Fights against feelings of boredom
- Protects against age-related muscle loss
- Gives you a pretty mirror view
- Raises your sexual performance
- Allows you to eat more food
- Makes you a more interesting person
- Prepares you to always look good in swimsuits
- Builds muscle size
- Adds a glow to your skin complexion
- Teaches you the value of hard work
- Gives you a reason to manage your time better
- Protects your body against injury
- Decreases the difficulty of lifting heavy objects
- Encourages the people around you to exercise
- Adds to your first impression
- Lowers the scary thought of stepping on a scale
- Increases compliments you receive from other people
- Gives your body what it loves, a good workout
If those 111 arguments didn’t convince you to take your health serious and begin a consistent exercise plan, I give up. You may be hopeless.
Just kidding. I know that’s not true. Even the most overweight, out-of-shape person can make a turn for the better to prioritize exercise.
And I know after reading this some of you will think, “Exercise is awesome. I’m going to get shredded for the beach this summer.” But then you’ll continue to not work out like nothing changed.
There’s only one road to getting in better shape, and it requires a bunch of sweat.
So snap out of it. Start exercising like you know you should. Get committed.
You owe it to your mind and body at the very least. Otherwise you’ll steal those 111 reasons from yourself.
And as I wrote in this article, the best time to start is now.