Enthusiasm & Positive Emotion: The Profound Implications of the Emotional Gym

How is your pulsing going?  Do you realize that when you pulse and do the Emotional Gym, you are doing a form of meditation, especially when you start to get good at it?

When you can get to an emotion with immediacy, when you can make it last, and when you can increase it, you are affecting the activity of the left frontal lobe from blood flow to EEG activity.

Increased blood flow and increased EEG activity are associated with the elevation of positive mood.  The research has been done with long-term meditators but it has also been done with those who meditated for 8 weeks.

This is the bottom-line. Meditation means and is many things. Most significantly it means an ability to alter the activity of the brain by choice, resulting in an alteration of the frontal lobes. This process affects the anterior cingulate and lessens the negative emotional reactivity of both the right frontal lobe and the amygdala.

Here’s the translation.  The left frontal lobe is responsible for inhibition/disinhibition.  This means that it is a stop/go mechanism of the brain.  While it is interesting that it is not the moral center of the brain, it can over rule the moral functioning of the brain and be a primary source of compulsive addictive behavior, as in orbital frontal syndrome.

Still not a very good translation?  Here’s the skinny.  When you pulse and “feel” emotion, you are activating the left frontal lobe.  When you think and image good and positive things, you are loosening up the inhibiting function and disinhibiting greater freedom and expansion, the good stuff associated with the UpSpiral.  The left frontal lobe is also associated with visioning, direction, and schedules.  So you’re beginning to get the picture that if you keep your left frontal lobe busy thinking and FEELING love, peace, gratitude, joy and hope, and the more accustomed you become to doing that, the greater you are affecting your state of mind. 

You are establishing a predisposition to a more positive mood.

There is, in fact, a ratio that exists between the activation of the left and right frontal lobes. The right frontal lobe is more associated with depression, but also with anxiety and more negative states of mind.  Change the ratio by choice.

Biofeedback has claimed a piece of this territory by offering equipment that shows when you are increasing left frontal lobe EEG activity.  EEG activity is a topical measure of brain activity. What would you guess is the best indication of that activity and it’s free?  Your emotions are your best biofeedback device. 


So stop just reacting with your emotions and do some meditating with emotions.  There are four tracks at the end of our CD that accompanies Growing the Positive Mind.  That CD, with original tracks by Douglas Ladnier, is The Music of the UpSpiral,  and is available on Amazon. Douglas did a wonderful job of translating my book into music.

However, you don’t have to buy anything.  The music helps because it’s music and it gets the whole right hemisphere working for you as well.  That is an additional added dimension of getting the whole brain to work in building stronger, more stable positive emotional responses.

Think about it.  We walk around in the emotional states we have grown all of our lives by reacting to what was happening around us.  And now the revolution is here!  You can feel what you want to feel and practice “love, peace, gratitude, joy, and hope” for no reason at all except that you choose to feel them. 

Let these be the emotions that you are most accustomed to feeling and living.  Let these be the emotions that fill both your quiet times and your busy times. You can meditate with gratitude while you work. You can meditate with hope when you go to sleep. You can meditate with love when you are aggravated and in the presence of somebody who rubs you the wrong way.

And in the process of paying attention to what is elegantly simple, you can discover and rediscover what is really simple meditation for the Western mind:  The Emotional Gym.


1) Summarize your understanding of the neuroscience of the Emotional Gym as it is presented in this blog.  Specifically, how do you see the “inhibition/disinhibition” function of the left frontal lobe as a catalyst for the power of the Emotional Gym? Give us an example from your personal or professional experience.


1) What insight did you gain from learning about the Emotional Gym as a form of meditation? How does the practice of this new form of meditation compare to your more traditional or customary forms of meditation? Tell us your story with an example.

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute