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  • my name's Chris Anderson.

  • I'm the guy lucky enough to run the head organization eyes.

  • It's a treat to be here with you.

  • Thank you so much for taking time to come and be part of this.

  • This is new for Ted.

  • This is, you know, we're known for Ted talks.

  • He we're gonna spend an hour in conversation with some of the world's.

  • Why is this people?

  • Because this is a moment when we need that wisdom.

  • More than ever, though, we're facing the pandemic that we were warned about.

  • You know, these are extraordinary times.

  • Times will remember for the rest of our lives, I suspect, and it's not like, you know, the battle is just the external battle, the battle against the virus, the decisions that are leaders make.

  • There's this other battle as well.

  • That is probably equally as consequential.

  • Um, it's a battle that's going on right inside our minds.

  • I mean, you know, if you're anything like me, you've had heard this real roller coaster of emotions the last few days.

  • Weeks.

  • Um, this is scary.

  • This is different.

  • This is alarming.

  • You know, we don't know what what to make of it.

  • A lot of us and the decisions we make collectively, I think they're gonna be hugely consequential.

  • One scenario.

  • There's a chance that we can use this moment to build community, to build bonds with each other, to get to know each other in different ways, to spend time with people who haven't spent time with, to look for the best in each other.

  • And, ah, another scenario of fear and anger will drive us apart.

  • I'd like to introduce the question in chief, my wonderful colleague, the Fed's current affairs curator, Whitney Pennington Rogers.

  • Thanks so much, Chris and hello to everyone joining us all around the world.

  • Chris will be back later to take part in this conversation.

  • He will come with some of your questions and so on to our guests.

  • You know, as Chris mentioned, there's so much happening in the media, so much conversation around the Corona virus, and oftentimes it's focused on the things that our government officials are doing the decisions that they're making.

  • So what's happening to our lives physically?

  • What are some of the changes that were experiencing as faras working remotely social distancing, but what often is overlooked is the social and the emotional toll that this is all taking off all of us, which is a really, critically important in a very real part of how we're all experiencing this pandemic.

  • And so we're really thrilled to be joined today by renowned author and Harvard Medical School psychologist Susan Leave it.

  • She gave a hugely popular Ted talk about emotional courage and the impact that understanding your emotions can have on your lives on our lives.

  • And so we're excited to chat with her about how we can approach this as we're experiencing this pandemic in this moment, thank you for inviting into the conversation.

  • I'm delighted to be part of it.

  • I really appreciate it.

  • Thank you so much for being here with us today.

  • Zoo where were again excited to have you.

  • And I guess, first and foremost how are you doing?

  • How are you holding up?

  • Well, I think like everyone we're doing the best we can, given the circumstances.

  • My husband is a physician at MGH, and it's really a stock reality when One week you saying, you know, can you pick up groceries?

  • And the next week you exchanging emergency contact information of something would go wrong.

  • So, you know, we're all living this reality, and I think trying to find the inner resources to do that in the best way we can is just a profound importance right now.

  • Thank you.

  • Yeah, definitely.

  • I'm glad to hear that you're managing and hanging in there.

  • Your work is is so focused around how we can best prepare ourselves emotionally and psychologically for these moments of change and complexity on and you have this really beautiful saying about life's beauty is inseparable from its fragility.

  • What does that mean?

  • And how does that apply to the current moment?

  • We're all experienced.

  • Well, I think we all know this internally at some level, that there is this complex, an intimate, beautiful relationship between the beauty of life and the fragility of life We love and then we lose.

  • We are healthy and all we are ill.

  • We in jobs in which we needed.

  • Until those jobs are no longer, we might, you know, roller eyes and yell at our kids and awesome to tidy the rooms.

  • And then one day there's silence Where the child once waas, they're now making their way in the world.

  • And so There's this complex interplay between the beauty and the fragility of life.

  • That just is what makes the wholeness off life.

  • And yet, so often in our narratives in society, we talk about, you know, focusing on success and being positive all the time and gold sitting.

  • And you know, there's this whole even even our avoidance that we have, really.

  • I think it a very broad level in society are avoidance of talking about what is the most common future that all of us are common experience that all of us will go through, which is to die.

  • And yet so much of our society is constructed around preventing avoidance denial off this reality.

  • And you know, the circumstance that we and now is not something that we asked for.

  • But life is calling on every single one of us to move into the place of wisdom in ourselves beyond the thinking judgy county, mind into the space, off wisdom and fortitude and solidarity, community courage.

  • And it's a calling for all of us right now that, I think is just star in mission.

  • What is in our expert under now reality the fragility of life right now?

  • Thank you for that.

  • And I mean and I think that for a lot of us, we were thinking about how our lives have changed, you know?

  • And we are approaching this idea of happiness.

  • So many of the things that at one point I really did bring us a lot of joy being able to go out with friends and socialize and spend physical time with loved ones.

  • So many of those things have changed.

  • But, you know, I guess in this moment how do you advisor Weird, cultivate happiness and enjoy with everything that's going on.

  • Well, so just to be clear, firstly, I'm not anti happiness, which you'll understand what I'm saying.

  • This as a progress.

  • I thanks for that.

  • Often again, we have this narrative in society that is about to be happy and be positive.

  • And, uh, whilst that may sound like it's the right thing and it sounds like that is the thing that we should all be saying, you know, just keep positive or, you know, when people are experiencing cancer, they're told to just be positive or when people are being marginalized or discriminate against, to stop being so angry.

  • You know, we have in our society this I'm almost judgment that happiness and joy are the most important emotional experiences that we can have end.

  • On the other hand, there's so called bed or negative emotions are frustration, anxiety, grief, loss, the sadness.

  • And so what we do is we often become very comfortable with happiness and we become uncomfortable with those difficult emotions and we pushed them aside.

  • But I think what's still often happens when we try to pursue some idea of well, going out was what made me happy or I can't go coming this weekend and now I can't be happy is what we're doing is we're basically said, establishing the anchor point of happiness around expectations or goals and what we know.

  • Actually, when we look at the scientific literature is that when we overly strongly focus on happiness is a goal.

  • We actually become less happy over time, and it is really interesting paradox because it's we almost seeking something as opposed to just living our lives in a way that is compassionate and accepting.

  • What I would say is that rather than tryingto find happiness, I think now, for all of us is actually a space for us, too, Coming into ourselves to come into our emotions too, not try to brush away the grief or the loneliness of the anxiety, but two rather face into that.

  • One of those stories that I spoke about in that head talk which has really duck with me My whole life was when I was about five years old.

  • I became absolutely aware off the fact that I was going to die one day and this is very normal.

  • Around the edge of five or six years old.

  • Children become aware of their own mortality, and that became aware of the fact that I was going to die and that my parents weren't going to be around forever.

  • And I would find my way into my parent's bed at night, you know, squeezing between the two of them.

  • And I would say to my father and my mother, you promised me that you won't die.

  • Promise me you won't die.

  • And I was five and I was desperate, and my father was so profoundly beautiful in the way he holds me during those nights, he didn't try to build some false narrative or just be positive.

  • I'm gonna be around.

  • Don't worry about me.

  • Everything's fine.

  • He didn't try to build some false narrative between me and reality.

  • What he said to me is dizzy.

  • It's normal to be scared.

  • We all die and it's normal to be scared.

  • And what we need to do is we need to not try to away with fear, but rather to reach inside ourselves and to find the courage.

  • And I think that is a message for our times, which is not to try rush aside or a little judge yourself if you experiencing difficult emotions.

  • This is a tough time, but rather we can use strategies to enable us to be with those emotions in healthy ways, which is the whole foundational experience off what I call emotional agility.

  • This is ultimately what will enable us to bring the best of ourselves forward in every aspect of how we love and how we lead in these times, we parents and how we come to ourselves.

  • And I think that that's exactly what we'd love to hear more about is this emotional agility that she just reference?

  • Maybe just first start there.

  • What is emotional agility?

  • What are the the maintenance off this philosophy.

  • Well, the first part of the martial agility, which is really critical, is moving away from I think what so many of us have.

  • I did some research where I was asking people, you know, when you have difficult emotional experiences, what do you tend to do with them?

  • And I did surveys of around 70,000 people.

  • And what I found is that a large majority of us maybe, you know, driven by this narrative off, I've got to be happy and positive all the time.

  • What we tend to do when we have these difficult emotional experiences is we do we judge that we've been little, then we push them aside all we get stuck in them.

  • So the language that I use is we often bottle our emotions.

  • We rationalize them and we push them aside all we brewed on them, and we get stuck in them and what emotional agility is.

  • And I can talk about this, you know, in terms of its principles, but also its strategies in more detail.

  • But really, what emotional agility is, it's the ability to be with ourselves are full Selves are full emotional experience in ways that are compassionate because the cyst tough and the's emotions are riel.

  • So we need to be compassionate with ourselves and others.

  • We need to be curious.

  • You know, what is my frustration telling me about what's important to me?

  • What is my guilt telling me when I'm interacting with my Children right now?

  • What is that telling me about what's important.

  • There are so many millions of people who are jobless or disenfranchised or in situations off profound difficulty right now.

  • And I've got anger towards that.

  • What is my anger told me about what I value.

  • So if we can move into a space way instead of pushing aside these sign posts that our emotions give us and instead move into a space where we are compassionate with them, where we curious with them and where we start saying, How can I?

  • Even in the midst off here, I don't need to do away with my fear.

  • The fear just is it's my body.

  • It's my mind.

  • It's my motions doing their job.

  • Our emotions have evolved to help us, and so when we feel fear, that's our emotion, trying to help us.

  • So the important thing here is not to do away with it, but also not to get stuck in it.

  • So to develop a sense of what a courageous steps that I can take, even in the midst of a reality that I didn't choose.

  • And that isn't off my asking, How can I bring myself forward and whether it's courageous and connected?

  • So in brief emotional agility is the ability to be with ourselves in the awfulness with compassion and curiosity so that we can live in ways that are.

  • Then he's connected.

  • That's beautiful.

  • And I think that for me, that's definitely really meaningful and thinking about how I'm personally experiencing a lot of this.

  • And I imagine, for a lot of folks and and so I'm curious than thinking about emotional agility free, you know, a pandemic.

  • And today, what are some of the differences between how you might private practice that before and how you're practicing that now?

  • What are some of the ways practicing emotional agility has changed?

  • Well, I think the principles of emotional agility are actually fundamental principles off psychological health and wellness, regardless of the context that we end, regardless of whether we stressed in our job or, you know, struggling to be with our Children in a way that effective over dinner time, you know, those much have bean the day today, realities that we experiencing.

  • And I think that all that's really happened is the need for emotional agility becomes so much more profound and so much clearer.

  • We also are deciding whether we let that narrative that is coming through the media own us, whether we're gonna let our emotions own us or whether we are gonna exert some kind of empowerment and connection over these experiences and whether we gonna earn it.

  • And you know what always just comes to mind and it's It's probably very oft used phrase, but it really, I think, is so profoundly important right now.

  • I think, as I'm speaking off that beautiful Victor Frankel idea, Victor Frankel, who survive the Nazi death camps, who describes what I think is the most profoundly powerful human sentiment and it's this that between stimulus and response, there is a space, and in that space is our power to choose.

  • And it's in that choice that lies our growth and freedom.

  • We didn't choose these circumstances.

  • Often.

  • What happens is we get hooked.

  • We get into an experience where there's no space between stimulus and response.

  • We either mindlessly, you know, go on tar Twitter feeds and we engage with the news and recon testifies or we feeling so stressed out.

  • Are we avoiding all?

  • And so I think this is really a time off getting space between stimulus and response.

  • We do that by being open to what we experiencing by saying what I need to do here.

  • But being intentional and the particular strategies, start thinking short.

  • Answer your question.

  • You know, emotional agility are basically the skills that are foundational to wellness within ourselves, to being healthy within ourselves every day.

  • What's happening in this context is we are needing to bring those skills with greater courage and strength to the situation that we face.

  • I'm curious, too, I guess.

  • And if we could look at some specific issues that people might be experiencing, I think one of the big ones with social distancing is that a lot of folks who at one point you know, went to an office are now working at home.

  • They're working at home.

  • They're sleeping at home, relaxing at home on DSO maybe in talking about that specifically for some of the ways that might impact us.

  • And then what are some areas that you think you could apply from emotional agility?

  • Thio To Miss Newman, this new normal, it's so very important.

  • Point is, I think you know, when I talk about having more space to have these experiences off course, that doesn't mean we're always alone.

  • We must be as I am.

  • I've got two young Children who are not home from school, and I'm trying to do my work and I'm trying to look after them and there's a lot that's going on.

  • But we on spending hours commuting, you know, most most of us, um, we unspent ng hours distracting or avoiding outside of the house.

  • So we really starting to think about Mama using what I've got in the space in this context right now.

  • So, you know, one of the things that I think is really profoundly important is when we think about social distancing, I think a better way for us to all be thinking about this.

  • Originally, the media had used this language of social distancing, but actually, what we thinking about here is physical distancing, physical distancing.

  • We can still, if we are social creatures, which many of us are.

  • We still need to be able to look for meaningful quality interactions that are really critically important to us right now.

  • So we know that we can be lonely in a crowd.

  • You know, we don't really don't we don't need.

  • When we think about loneliness, loneliness is not just around by myself there, for I'm lonely.

  • You could be in a crowd of people and be lordly.

  • So what is it that we think about when we think about how do you mitigate against the howdy ameliorate loneliness, learning This is actually a function of weather.

  • Our interactions are meaningful or not against this idea that emotions tell us a story behind our most difficult emotions are sign post to the things that we care about.

  • If you find yourself feeling learned me as an example.

  • What is that loneliness?

  • The sign post off the loneliness is often the sign post that you value presence and connectedness, and that you don't have enough of it.

  • Now that loneliness is telling you that there's something that you value that you need to be moving more in the direction off.

  • And so you can start asking yourself what are some small changes that I can bake that are really important to me right now, in this context of loneliness are the people that I'm reaching out to that I may be having spoken to you for a few years.

  • Is they a way that I, you know, I have this really a remarkable experience Sometimes where I feel like even when we speaking to someone, we speaking beyond the person I'm There's something beautiful that I do in one of my exercises that I've actually done in some Ted workshops before.

  • Where ask people just to silently look at another person.

  • There's this beautiful phrase in South Africa, somewhere born, it's a greeting.

  • Some are born a means I see you, and by seeing you, I bring you into being and in the workshop.

  • Sometimes what I do is I'll stop people and I Q.

  • Them and I say Suburb Warner, and all I'm doing is I'm asking people to look beyond the eyes to look into the soul and the love and the light and the hurt in the person that's in front of you, and I've been doing that with my Children.

  • You know, they don't necessarily love it.

  • But instead of doing the quick hug when they at the computer trying to do their learning each day, I'm starting to set of them.

  • You know, let's just look at each other.

  • It's just connect with each other.

  • Let's d the person behind the person.

  • So I think that their ways that weaken, whether it's an online meeting with our colleagues or burning someone that we care about, or even how we look at a person there is meaning that brings us out of learning us and meaning that brings us out of social isolation in ways that are really profound and beautiful.

  • I just want to nip in with a couple of questions from the crowd of people who were watching.

  • So I'm thinking especially, I think some people watching are literally in a situation now where there they have spent days alone and it's a fearful is a fearful time.

  • Um, and so one question is, what do you mean when you say reach inside of us to find courage?