7 May 2019

Unlocking your Emotions to Achieve the SDGs: Mindfulness & Meditation in Government

What if there was a tool that could help countries avoid war and heal post-conflict, help communities work more closely together and help people have better interpersonal relationships, care more about their environment and be better global citizens?  This tool already exists – it’s called Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ). There are many definitions of Emotional Intelligence, but broadly EI is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in an effective and positive way. In this week-long series, UNAI will explore the many aspects of Emotional Intelligence and how it can be applied in diverse settings and taught to anyone to help build empathy and achieve a better world. 

We live in a busy world where ever-increasing productivity is encouraged, and multi-tasking is a way of life. No matter how much we accomplish in a day our task lists never seem to get shorter. This constant flurry of activity means that our days pass in a blur and we seldom take time to be in the moment and enjoy the here and now.

Mindfulness is the practice of purposefully focusing your attention on the present moment and shifting your mind away from your usual preoccupations toward an appreciation of the moment and a larger perspective on life.  Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere at any time and has been shown to have a range of benefits, including increased well-being and improved mental and physical health. 

Mindfulness can be cultivated by a simple meditation practice. Meditation can help reduce stress, blood pressure and anxiety, promote emotional health, enhance self-awareness and improve sleep. 

Today’s interview is with Dr. Danny Penman and Chris Ruane. Dr. Penman is a qualified meditation teacher and award-winning writer and journalist. He is co-author of the million-selling book Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World.

Chris Ruane has been a member of the British Parliament since 1997. Since 2013 Mr. Ruane has provided mindfulness training to more than 450 members of Parliament and their staff. In 2014 he established the Mindfulness All Party Parliamentary Group (MAPPG), a cross party group dedicated to developing public policy on mindfulness in health, education, criminal justice and the workplace. He currently works with mindfulness advocates in over 40 countries who wish to take mindfulness to their legislatures.

In this interview, Dr. Penman and Mr. Ruane talk about how mindfulness changed their lives, the benefits of meditation and mindfulness in government affairs and policymaking, and how they managed to implement mindfulness into more than fourteen parliaments around the world. 

On Friday, 17 May Chris Ruane will participate in a half-day conference on using Emotional Intelligence to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals from 10am-2pm at UNHQ in New York. You can watch the conference live or on demand at webtv.un.org

The following resources provide more information on meditation projects and practices:

Mindfulness into School Project

Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World

Breathing Meditations

Unlocking your Emotions to Achieve the SDGs: Mindfulness & Meditation in Government

Unlocking your Emotions to Achieve the SDGs: Mindfulness & Meditation in Government with Danny Penman and Chris Ruane