By Chris Onuoha
A performance and life coach, Abiola ‘Champ’ Salami, has warned that the absence of sound emotional and mental health among the people in this Covid-19 pandemic era may trigger a bigger challenge if not checked.
Salami, an author of many emotional intelligence books, disclosed that people stand the chance of overcoming the health challenges that may arise from the Covid-19 pandemic if adequate attention is paid on the management of the emotional and mental health.
He said: “There’s no better time to be alive than now. I’m not just saying this because I’m excited. I am saying this because there is a challenge that the world is dealing with right now. And we see the real champions emerging from this challenge. Now, a natural disaster is upon the entire globe as an entity. I mean, there’s one thing affecting everybody at the same time in the world. That is amazing. Now, by amazing I don’t mean it’s something we like, I don’t mean it’s something good for us; but I’m saying that we have one common challenge that is bringing everybody together.
“Some of the interesting things about this challenge is that people are no longer talking about religion. Whether you are Muslim or Christian, this is affecting you. People are no longer talking about party affiliation. In the United States for example, whether you are a Democrat or Republican, it is affecting you. People are no longer talking about gender issues, because whether you are a man or a woman, this is affecting you. People are not really even talking about race again. Whether you are black, white, Asian or whichever race you are, this is affecting everyone.
So, Covid-19 is a leveller. Covid-19 is putting the whole world on the same plane. It doesn’t matter whether rich or poor as well. It is an economic leveller, where we all as human beings are dealing with the same issue at the same time in history. It is such an interesting moment to be alive to witness what we are going through in the entire world right now.
“The way I see emotional intelligence is like the live wire. What the blood is to our biology is what Emotional Intelligence is to our psychology. The blood flowing through our veins inside our body is our life. In the same way emotional intelligence is the heart of our psychology. Many experts have made us understand that a typical human being has three parts. It doesn’t matter whether you are male or female, black, blue, green or yellow.
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It doesn’t matter where you come from. So far you are human, you are a tripartite being. One of the three areas is the body, which is the physical part we all see. The body could be sick, and when the body is sick, you go to the Clinic you get some medication to make sure that you’re fine. Another part is the soul. The soul is said to have three areas as well, which are the mind, emotions and will power. The spirit is the third part of the human being.
“Emotional intelligence isvery important because it’s that thing directing everything else the human being is doing. It’s the invisible on the inside of the human being that controls the visible that you can see on the outside. When a person is speaking, you can see their moving mouth as well as the hands they are using to make gestures. Yet both the mouth and hands are controlled by something you cannot see: the mind. Now, the more we pay attention to that person on the inside, the better we are at work, at home, and in our relationships generally.
The more we pay attention to the person on the inside for the period of COVID-19, the better we can manage this pandemic, and much more than managing this pandemic, the more productive we can be post-COVID-19. One of the things many governments around the world are not paying attention to right now is how people will fare post-COVID as they are busy implementing many strategies to ensure that the scourge of COVID-19 ends as soon as possible.
“Most governments are focused on supplying food and other relief materials to help people survive this period. That is great but equally important is paying attention to our emotional and mental health. In fact, the World Health Organization recently recognised that for us to thrive during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for us to pay attention to our emotional and mental health. One of the reasons is that there are a lot news out there, both fake and real about COVID. You may hear that a thousand people died somewhere. It may be true or not.
Almost immediately, you will read that there are twenty thousand confirmed new cases in another place, which may be true or not. Whether the news is true or not, the more of it we take into our mind, the more we start to build negative emotions of panic, anger, fear and sadness that could lead to depression. We just read a report by Bloomberg recently about the increasing divorce cases in China; the report also shows an increase the rate of domestic violence. One would have thought that the reason for domestic violence is perhaps because people don’t cohabit so they do not really understand themselves. One would have thought that since there’s a lockdown, people would be together in the same vicinity, ask questions and get to know each other better thereby causing a reduction in the incidence of conflicts. Yet from reports, rather than fostering relationships, the lockdown is actually separating people. And why is that? One of the reasons I believe is that most people are taking in a lot of negative news which has taken over their mind such that their response to their immediate environment is violence.
“I believe that we all are as smart as the information that we allow to get into our mind. In fact we are as smart as the influences around us. So the news influences us, other people as well influence us. The essence of emotional intelligence is being conscious and knowing that we are only so smart. It’s saying, “Hey! I am not claiming that I’m that smart, I’m not claiming that I have a wall that I can build in my mind that allows me to take as much negativity as possible without it affecting me.” Emotional intelligence is saying that: “Hey! I know my frailty; I understand myself.
I know that when I listen to this thing over and over again, I’ll develop a negative mindset and that will start to influence my life and may make me sad and depressed over a period of time. It’s admitting that even when the pandemic is over, you may not immediately bounce back, because you’ve been fed with a lot of negativity while the lockdown is happening which means getting back to work and normal life may not be as easy.
“The rising cases of mental and emotional disorders are some of the issues the government will have to deal with in the post-COVID-19. China is clear case where people are coming out of their togetherness with serious issues. Why do people go on honeymoons after the wedding? They go on honeymoon so that they can be alone, stay together, enjoy their time together and shut out the world. One would have thought that the lockdown would be a pseudo or mini-honeymoon for couples but we can see what is coming out of it is the opposite because of the lack of emotional intelligence. We need to pay attention to our emotional and mental health so that we are better off when the pandemic subsides.”