Recently published data from the world’s largest study of emotional intelligence reveals a widespread human energy crisis, fueled by years of stress and uncertainty. The lesson? It’s time to reinvest in mental and emotional health.
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In the heart of the pandemic, in March 2021, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a warning about the long-term mental health toll of the pandemic.
“When there is mass trauma,” Ghebreyesus said, “it affects communities for many years to come.”
Recently published data from the world’s largest study of emotional intelligence provides some of the strongest evidence yet that communities all over the world are still struggling, as Ghebreyesus predicted, with the emotional aftershocks of the pandemic.
Burnout is high, especially for men and younger generations. Wellbeing is falling. Many people feel socially isolated and disconnected. Emotional intelligence – the skills people need to thrive and connect in complex and uncertain times – has declined for 3 consecutive years – and most of the last decade. That includes critical skills like empathy, optimism and a sense of purpose, among others.
“On average, people are more volatile and less likely to be able to navigate emotions,” says Six Seconds CEO Joshua Freedman, one of the coauthors of the study. “They’re less likely to feel connected to empathy, to others, or to a bigger sense of purpose. They’re less likely to be able to accurately understand and label the feelings they’re experiencing – and that’s a crucial foundation for mental and emotional health.”