Deepak Knows: The Future of Wellbeing Is Y-O-U

By Marilynn Preston

September 25, 2018 6 min read

Deepak Chopra — author of over 85 books — is the head, heart and brains of a well-being, well-meaning empire.

He's the founder of the Chopra Foundation — "committed to creating a peaceful, just, sustainable, healthy and happier world" — and co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, one word, no hyphen, on purpose.

And yes, he's the integrative M.D. who helped Oprah wake up to the power of her own mind back in 1993, on live TV, as he held a string with a small weight attached. (The replay on YouTube will amaze you.)

Dr. Chopra's books have been translated into over 43 languages. His latest book, "The Healing Self," written with celebrated neuroscientist Rudolph Tanzi, is about the power we all have to lower our stress, boost our immunity and even alter the expression of our genes. (He loves epigenetics.)

"There's a new revolution occurring in health today," Chopra claims, "The revolution is you." Translation: ultimately, you are responsible for your own wellbeing. Not your doctor, not the drug companies, you.

Last week, I streamed Chopra's latest presentation, "The Future of Wellbeing," at a forum presented online by Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in collaboration with PRI's The World and WGBH. Some highlights from a fascinating hour:

— SIX PILLARS OF WELLBEING. Your future wellbeing depends on the choices you make every day, in the present moment. If you want to see huge improvements, pay attention to:

1. Sleep. It's crucial. The endocrine and immune systems reset during natural sleep. Get 7 to 8 hours a night.

2. Meditation and stress management. They're a must. Calm your mind to help regulate and nurture every cell of your body.

3. Movement. All forms of movement are essential for wellbeing, but Chopra singles out yoga and pranayama (breathing exercises) for their remarkable ability to regulate and improve every system in the body.

4. Emotions. Negative emotions (anger, hostility, guilt) make us sick. The health benefits of experiencing love, compassion, joy, equanimity and peace of mind are life-changing, he says. "There are no drugs that have the anti-inflammatory effect that gratitude has."

5. Nutrition and nourishment. Take care of your microbiome with a diverse, mainly plant-based diet, says Chopra. You mess with it when you eat food that is manufactured, refined, processed.

6. Biological rhythms and grounding. "Your body is alive!" he says, from his deep knowledge of Ayurvedic medicine. When we connect to the earth — walking barefoot, for instance — we reset and recharge our body, decreasing inflammatory markers, changing gene expression.

— WELLBEING IS BEYOND WELLNESS. Chopra sees wellbeing as a state of consciousness. It comes from getting in touch with our inner selves, when we ask and answer the question, "Am I aware?" (He illustrates this with an audience participation exercise that stops the mind.)

"The more aware you are of your inner self and the more aware you are of your mental activity, your perceptual ability and the more aware you are of your choices, " he says, "that improves your wellbeing."

— WE ARE THE PUBLIC IN PUBLIC HEALTH. "Our health care system isn't healthcare!" says Chopra — almost losing his legendary cool — because it's failed us in so many ways.

"Public health is the No. 1 problem in our society," he says, referring to the lax regulation of processed foods and the indifference, in so many places, to the level of toxicity in our air and water. "We've regressed 60 years."

Tomorrow can be different, he believes. He sees a just-now-coming future of connected communities that align to champion the cause of wellbeing.

Chopra wants to use social media, block chain technology and the poorly named cryptocurrency to reward people for healthy behaviors: standing up, walking 10,000 steps a day, getting enough sleep.

"It's happening now," he says. "People are tired of waiting for the government ...They are doing it themselves!"

— WELLBEING IS POLITICAL. The wellbeing of the planet is also on Chopra's mind. "We need a political movement," he says. "And it can only come from the Public." (He means us, the voters.)

Chopra called on young people to get involved, transform politics and use social media as a force for global health and happiness rather than destruction or distraction.

"We're all connected!" he concludes, reminding us why one of his many credits is "spiritual guru." "There's no such thing as a separate self."

ENERGY EXPRESS-O! WAKE UP, RISE UP

"By and large, people are out there to help each other." — Deepak Chopra

Marilynn Preston is the author of "Energy Express," America's longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new book "All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being" is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at creators.com/books/all-is-well to learn more. For more on personal well-being, visit www.MarilynnPreston.com.

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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