Rohan Parikh, Managing Director, The Green Acres Academy

Rohan Parikh has attained a BSc in Economics from Wharton Business School, an MBA from INSEAD, and has more than 10 years of experience in the Real Estate and Hospitality industries. In 2013 Mr. Parikh entered the field of education by founding The Green Acres Academy in Chembur, and simultaneously pursuing a Master’s degree in Education through Johns Hopkins University. His aim is to provide affordable yet holistic, and well-rounded education by adapting the latest research in teaching and learning techniques within the Indian context. What started as one campus of The Green Acres Academy in Chembur, Mumbai, has grown to a total of 3 campuses across Mumbai and Pune, as well as the latest Seven Rivers International School (an IGCSE affiliate school).

Emotional Quotient, or EQ, as well as IQ, are both an essential part of a child’s development. However, studies have shown that IQ only accounts for about 20% of a person’s success. The major factor in determining success is one’s social and emotional intelligence. EQ provides students with the tools they require to recognize the difficult emotions they may be experiencing and to rationalise, analyze and navigate through such difficult and stressful times. This is something they will imbibe and carry with them into the workforce and as adults.

When in a state of distress, the mind tends to stop thinking clearly and this can, in turn, affect one’s ability to learn. This is because the brain goes into a state of ‘Fight or Flight’ and the brain seeks the quickest response and not the best response. EQ allows students to better cope with and manage stresses and anxieties that come their way.

First students need to learn how to identify stress, what it looks and feels like. Stress can manifest physically, mentally, or emotionally. Feelings of anxiety, breathlessness, unable to think clearly, are all indicators that the body is under stress. After identifying that one is in a state of stress, the next step would be to analyse the stressor, and also whether the stress levels are manageable or too much, as well as the typical reactions one would have to this.

As mentioned before, stress can prevent the mind from thinking clearly, so by recognising the signs of stress early enough, one can easily manage the reactions and outcomes. Identifying the stressor can help students manage their feelings in a conducive and healthy manner. If the stressor is something that emerges often, students can prepare for it and learn to manage it. Let’s take the example of having scored badly on a test causing someone stress. By analysing what went wrong: did they not prepare for the test well ahead of time, did they not manage their time effectively, etc. they can make some changes and be better prepared for the next test. And by the time they take their fifth or sixth test, it would not seem like a stressful and mammoth task for them anymore.

Another important reason to identify the stressors is to prevent certain negative reactions to stress and also take steps to control and release the stress. Some tools in stress management are deep breathing or slow body movements to help slow down the mind and control one’s emotions. Once they have coped with their overwhelming feelings, they get ready to problem-solve. Only after they have reached a calmer stage will their minds be in a better place to think of the best solution and not the fastest solution to the problem. So once calmer, they can revisit the problem and assess what the best possible solution could be.

Proactive tools or strategies are also important and can help students take charge of their own decision making and problem-solving. These help students plan for specific issues or problems that may arise and be prepared for them, and thus make them feel more confident and safe when a situation arises. They are then prepared to tackle the problem with a sound and rational mind.

A good emotional development or EQ can be crucial in helping students navigate through difficult times like the present pandemic, as well as any future situations they may encounter. It allows them to stop, analyse, and problem-solve whenever they come upon a difficult situation.

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