In the shadow of this pandemic, emotional intelligence may be even more crucial.

Global news is disturbing, with communities and whole societies disrupted, frustrated, ethically, and financially untethered, and exhausted. There seems to be greater addiction to being right, more power over play, more judgement and less empathic space for connection.

In Dr Brené Brown’s framework, we might say the world has become more self-protectionist and armored, and less courageous.

And there’s never been a greater need for brave conversations to surface the hurt, anxiety, loneliness and frustration, to navigate the threats and bring calm to connect in creative, collaborative and courageous ways.

The pre-pandemic period showed growing emotional intelligence globally, which unfortunately has declined dramatically in 2020. Shifting scores correlate with higher volatility and less concern for others, as well as a growing caution and recognition of risk.

We need to especially take note of growing stress and isolation, along with reduced imagination. The imagination we’re going to need in bucket loads as we search for new normals in all parts of our lives.

Sadly, for GenZ (born after 1997) this pandemic has been a major blow and their optimism (hope and possibility) has declined.

Even as I write this, I’m recognising with every cell in my body that we’re searching for more calm and creativity (imagination) along with a large dose of empathy to get us through these difficult, uncertain times.

I believe that a vital path through this mud (and to start growing our Lotus Flowers ~ symbols of our courage and change resilience) lies in our finding the keys to stillness.

One powerful way to find stillness in our lives is to tap into breathwork, and find communities of people to help us grow our skills in tapping the resources of inner calm.

I reflect daily on the many ways that we can ‘Renew’, and how important it is that we prioritise time in our days for Renewal to strengthen brain pathways to access calm (the antidote to anxiety) in our lives more quickly.

For me personally, it’s spending time in nature, especially on the beach, or riding my ride on mower through our inland paddocks. It’s also the daily morning walking ritual I love, followed by fifteen minutes of yoga and breathwork, whilst I listen to a mindful App. It’s also very much about trying to get my 8 hours of sleep each night!

I’d like to share a few questions I try to reflect on daily as part of my morning Renewal ritual:

  • What in my life do I want to let go of?
  • What is pulling me forward?
  • What is one thing I envision for my life this day?
  • Name three people am I grateful for and why (I don’t have to know them personally)?
  • Where in my life would I like to cultivate stillness and how/when will I do it?

As you search for your own stillness rituals and Renewal in your own life, remember that we were never meant to do this alone.

Reach out to the people in your life that you care about, join a volunteer community group, a choir, a stillness community, an art or dance class…

People are people, are people, are people…

And yes, we will get through this, and the optimist in me hopes to see the declining emotional intelligence in the world start growing again through our collective stillness and Renewal.

With gratitude