Goutam Kundu, a simple stationery shop owner at Kestopur lost his younger brother Chandan earlier this year due to Covid-19. Till now he has not been able to shed off his tragedy and was planning to consult a psychiatrist. Thanks to his neighbors, they gave him a lot of mental solace and now Goutam carries on his work as usual. The same is the saga of Sabir Bhai, a small saloon owner in central Kolkata. He almost lost hope of reviving his business after the second lockdown. As he says by blessings of Almighty and support from his assistant Jamal he has successfully sailed through the crisis. They are practicing but are not aware of emotional intelligence.
“Covid has brought a new reality check for our emotions in an adverse period. The emotional stress of working remotely certainly adds an untold and confusing pressure to our lives making it vulnerable to several uneasy circumstances” says eminent media person Prerna Sahni who conducted rare research on emotional intelligence. She adds, “Social distancing which has become the norm for Covid protocol is an unnatural condition and leads to a social vacuum. The positive aspect of EQ is that we can all become emotionally intelligent over a while with seasoning, acceptance and adoption.”
She further says, “If we are aware of our own emotions and desire to understand others’ emotions with honesty we will automatically find people driven towards us.” Emotional intelligence is a subject that helps to balance mental conditions, especially when they are restless. The Covid crisis has disturbed countless minds which have grown morose from growing uncertainties. Many have turned mentally imbalanced and cases of suicide have risen.
Dr Nilanjana Sanyal, eminent psychologist mentions, “Mental balances in third world countries are a real challenge. Economic morass generally leads to a lot of imbalances in mental status. The Covid pandemic has added chinks to the clamor. Mainly members of low and middle-income groups suffer from such tensions the most as their sources of earning are at stake.” Well-known cardiologist Dr Kunal Sarkar shares the same thought.
In India, the mental status of even the higher income group has been jeopardized by Covid. Fears of being affected, isolation, lockdowns and untimely deaths have disturbed the rich and elite class also.
Indian Medical Association’s ex-secretary general Dr RV Asokan points out, “It will be wrong to say the wealthy are not at mental risk. Covid situations have led to such conditions that the status quo and sitting on high pedestals with longer than life ambitions have been crushed.”
Preetha Reddy, vice-chairperson, Apollo Hospitals has faced many mental crises in her illustrious tenure. She remains an exception in the sense that never has Preetha lost her cool. When the pandemic wave created havoc in the nation earlier this year, Preetha silently carried on her medical crusade against the dreaded disease. Many may laugh out her efforts saying she is too privileged to have tensions and mental unrest. The fact is she may not be pinched to get both ends meet. Yet the thought of safety and cure of hundreds of patients in her hospital was a nightmare for her. Never did one notice the suave, beautiful Preetha without her loving toothy smile.
The essence of mental health during and aftermath of Covid is a subject of interesting study. True no one can define in words the cruel pangs of pain thousands of workers received remaining stranded or walking endlessly to reach their homes. The scenes of the proletariat section of our society waiting with blank expressions at stations and bus standstill bring tears to the eyes of any socially conscious leaning being. Their traumas were and still are beyond description.
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen time and again pointed out the pathetic conditions our working and peasant class underwent during the lockdown. Tragically our government seemed least concerned. Any sensitive person cannot but salute these brave hearts who defied all adverse conditions walking thousands of kilometers to reach homes. The sleepless, foodless tensions borne by them can never be equaled.
According to Prena Sahni, “A human EQ is a differentiator and surely a magnetic force that attracts the emotions of others is spheres of influence. This, in turn, fills emotional voids and helps to relate better in prosperity or adversity.” True emotional intelligence plays a key factor in mental balance during post-Covid. It may be consciously or unconsciously. The working class is not aware of emotional intelligence but can at times tackle mental issues better than the so-called elite.
If anyone believes that any mental crisis can be overcome easily then he is wrong. Earlier also there were countless examples of mental imbalances due to tragic circumstances. Nothing was as dreaded as in the past two years. Emotional intelligence may sound too intellectual a word for the common man. The fact is that even that commoner applies emotional intelligence unconsciously when he or she puts proper control on unnecessary emotional excess and harnesses the procedure of mental breakdowns.
The examples of Dr Prateeksha Gandhi and Dr Shanti Bansal are unique. The former carries on the crusade of heart ailment cure sans bypass surgeries in India and the USA. Later, a hospital management expert maintains a disciplined character of activities even at work which does not gel with her heart. Their ways of maintaining mental balance are simple as they alter traditional methods but never break them. Mental balance maintenance during or after Covid requires both conventional and unconventional exercises that stimulate the mind.