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10.06.2020 By Nivey Nocher, UK Director of Health, Current Global

Un-boxing our feelings and figuring out what’s next.

Photograph of a smiling child emerging from a cardboard box. There are two adults behind her, probably the parents, smiling at her. There are lots of other cardboard boxes in the room waiting to be packed.

The last few weeks has made me realise that there is so much to talk about. Not so much about the impact of this pandemic on its disruption to all our societal structures and systems as we know it as there is a lot of chatter and speculation on that already, but more so on how we are feeling and behaving as individuals.

The feelings that have arisen and actions we have adopted for the greater good now, for being able to restore some type of ‘historic’ familiarity back into our reality later, can offer us clues to the type culture that is being created before us.

All the places that we once used to occupy have now become just one contained space at home and that one space has divided into several parts to serve all the areas of our life that sustain us. Those areas such as work, socialising, sport and family, which used to infiltrate so many places outside of our homes are inhabiting one place. The physical compartmentalisation no longer exists and with it the emotional lines that dictate how we feel about each area has also blurred.

For me, I share this one physical space with my family, which is influencing a large majority of my decisions.  From how I’m rearranging and changing it to suit how I feel day to day to the things I’m buying to keep me and my family going at this time.

This ‘complete’ space called home is also having a dual role as my internal sensor. I am having to tune in more and recognise the contrast of my emotions and the role they are playing in the choices I am making. Since compartmentalisation has taken a new form, I’ve come to realise that these feelings (extreme or not) don’t belong neatly in boxes.

I’m making decisions based on what is going to serve me and my family at this moment in time. Recognising that these moments are transient but the decisions I’m making in them might last.

While how we feel can be re-framed, motivate our intelligence and help us to make decisions about what we do and how we do it, this becomes magnified several fold when everything is happening at home.

Fundamentally our cultural activity begins and remains deeply embedded in our individual feelings. For example, our emotions become feelings, those feelings trigger actions, a series of those actions make up our individual context and a collection of contexts create group level trends that can shape a culture. Whether we are aware or not, feelings are influencing our cultural endeavours, big or small.

The rise of whatever new culture, micro-culture or trend is happening as a result of the choices we are making in our homes. Whether we are aware of it or not, care or not, our individual situational context is shaping our collective tomorrow and we can certainly look for hints to start piecing together what that might look like.

Although the economic picture seems bleak, it’s not a reason to hit pause on creativity, innovation or investment because in these times there’s an opportunity for differential growth on a personal, professional and business level.

If we are able to tune in and listen to how we are feeling within ourselves, and open up that conversation to the people around us, those clues can eventually uncover an incredible breadth of information to help us figure out what the new realities of our lives could looks like. If we let ourselves instinctively explore that, however messy that process might be, we might be able to discover something good and be of value to the world forming around us.

Nivey Nocher is Director of Health, UK for Current Global, an IPG agency.

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