Its stating the obvious but our bodies respond physically to how we think and feel. This is the final article in a series of 4 describing how emotions impact health and how we can use this fact to improve our wellbeing. The previous article is here.

Imagine being able to monitor and manage the physical and mental wellbeing of ourselves, loved ones and our community as a whole, all by evaluating emotions?

The reality of that isn’t that farfetched at all. I’ve developed TrueTalk, which combines voice, face and word recognition technology to evaluate emotions – an example of so-called Emotions Technology.

My goal is to provide a complete solution to measure emotions that can be used alongside our favourite methods of communication – social media, text messages, emails, phone calls, videos and images – for good. Such technology can help to monitor and interpret everyday emotional wellbeing and also spot early signs of stress, enabling us all to act early on. Eventually, monitoring the mental wellbeing of elderly relatives by a simple telephone conversation or helping a friend to analyse their emotional issues will be commonplace.

In addition to providing a tool to help us all evaluate our emotions, TrueTalk aims to collate the emotional data of whole communities that can eventually be used by everyone as a reference to monitor physical health and emotional wellbeing over time. We also aim to build a community of wellbeing professionals, to pool their valuable experience. This wealth of information can then be shared by professionals and help them to work through common health issues and enhance their skills.

Emotions Tech isn’t meant to be a cure for emotional distress. Instead it’s a tool with which to collect and analyse data that can be used to catch health and wellbeing issues early on. Early, simple interventions can work, and in most cases, they do. Talking therapy, journaling, socialising, feeling accepted, joining new social or sports clubs and finding different ways of dealing with certain stresses or situations can be all we need. Emotions Tech can help you shape these interventions then monitor their effectiveness over time.

How Does Emotions Tech Work?

Step One – Personality and Emotional Evaluation

An understanding of your personality and major emotional traits is an important first step. This provides a baseline measurement of your emotions and how you interpret and react to them. This might sound pretty complex, but the difficult part has already been worked on by psychologists.

Psychologist-led personality tests, called “The Big Five Personality Tests” provide an accurate idea of our emotional tendencies and have been used on millions of subjects over many years.

If you’re interested in pinpointing your own key emotional characteristics and how they manifest themselves in your habits and personality Enneagrams are as good a place to start as any.

Peter O’Hanrahan provides a deeper look at the classic emotional habits of each of the different personality types.

Once you’ve pinpointed your personality type, you’ll understand and recognise which emotions to watch out for.

But remember, these tests are just a starting point. We’re all unique and have our own complexities, no test can ever pigeon hole us completely!

Step Two – Taking Health Issues in Context

Taking individual health issues and concerns in context will help Emotions Tech understand and focus the analysis around a framework. To explain that further, here’s some examples of the contexts I mean…

• Feeling down about life in general

• Being constantly stressed

• Feeling worn out and being susceptible to coughs, colds and other bugs all the time

• Feeling worried about a specific loved one, for example an elderly relative

• Feeling anxious that someone is keeping something from you

• Being concerned about a loved one’s mental wellbeing who’s showing extremes of emotions

• Feeling lonely

• Feeling depressed

• Harbouring feelings of resentment to the point that it makes you feel ill

• Constantly feeling angry

• Having anxiety plaguing you wherever you go and not knowing how to deal with it

At the moment, we can use Emotions Tech to gather useful information via phone calls, posts on social media, text messages and emails. In the future, we will be able to use it to assess our own risk, or spot vital early signs in others, of conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, autism, depression and anorexia nervosa.

Step Three – Data Collection and Analysis

Currently, a few large companies are developing the technology to collect emotions data for global corporations and companies. However, there is no comprehensive “one stop shop” solution for collecting and analysing emotions data aimed at individual’s for personal use. And that’s why I’ve developed TrueTalk, which combines voice, face and word analysis.

To demonstrate how it works, here’s an example of an analysis of a social media post from a friend that you may be worried about.

You notice this post and TrueTalk ascertains their most likely emotion:

You may also see an image of them, that TrueTalk can also use to assess their likely mood:

TrueTalk can also assess the sentiment and emotion behind a voice recording. In other words, it can identify the difference between what has been said, and what it means.
TrueTalk can also obtain emotional data from the tiniest of features on a facial image, features far too small for the human eye to notice.

The next step is to put this wealth of data into context. And crucially, decide on a course of action. It could be that talking things through with your friend will help you notice a gradual improvement in their emotional wellbeing. In more serious situations, you should seek expert guidance. Help from a wide range of counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists and clinical practitioners is always on hand.

Step Four – Data Storage, Monitoring and Evaluation

All of the data you collect can be stored and monitored over time so that you can keep a record of what has worked, and what hasn’t. You can also journal activities against results so that you can continually review, adapt and repeat actions. You’ll also become better and better at interpretation of results. As TrueTalk technology develops, looking retrospectively over past data will also allow you to develop your skills in identifying emotional health issues.

Here’s my tips, but your own pattern will develop:

• Record everything by writing it down or making voice recordings. This makes assessment of emotions much simpler, and TrueTalk makes it simpler still. It will independently process voice, video and image data to give you a real time emotional analysis.

• Use the data to discover things about yourself and your own emotions. Use it to practice self-awareness and to understand your own feelings – what they are, why you’re feeling them and how to respond to them. If you can do it for yourself, imagine what you can do for others.

• Always seek help from an expert if you’re in doubt of the severity of a situation.

• Look closely at the link between words and actions. Do people react or respond to situations? If they’re reacting, make them step back, slow down and make a measured response instead. This puts them back in control and gives them time to reflect.

• Learn from lessons and put these learnings into action and then start over again – record, analyse, adapt, repeat.

• Look back over results to compare how you’ve dealt with them.

Emotional Intelligence, Health and Wellbeing

A higher level of emotional intelligence is not only linked with better wellbeing, self-control and sociability, it’s also linked with better general health.

Emotions Tech like TrueTalk can help us manage our own wellbeing, and that of our loved ones and our communities.

We believe that healthcare can be well supported by platforms such as TrueTalk and we aim to be a large part of this revolution.

Author's Bio: 

Adrian McKeon co-founded Infoshare and in early 2018 will launch TrueTalk, an emotions tech service letting individuals collect emotions data from calls, images, words and video to help manage health and well-being, relationships, work performance, educational learning and self-development.