That’s seems to be the message from Dr. Deepak Chopra, World Renowned Physician, Spiritual and Alternative Medical Practitioner and Best Selling Author. He recently appeared on The Best of The Oprah Show that OWN Network broadcasted as part of Oprah Winfrey’s Award Winning Series, Super Soul Sunday. Though this episode originally aired in June of 1993, Deepak Chopra’s message is even more relevant today as America sees itself in the midst of a medical crisis of epidemic proportions with heart disease, cancers, diabetes, obesity, immune disorders, and Alzheimer’s. Can our personal thoughts and emotions be the answer to better health?
Deepak Chopra M.D., who has taught at medical schools such as Harvard and Boston University, served on panels with the National Institutes of Health, and was Executor Director of the Sharp Institute for Human Potential and Mind-Body Medicine, tells Oprah that whenever we have a thought, our bodies make a chemical that goes along with that thought. And with every feeling that we have, our bodies are producing chemicals that reflect those feelings. That is because the cells in our brains, our immune system and every cell in our body, contain chemical receptors (recievers) that are listening and ease dropping on our internal dialogue.
This is important because when you are having a good day and feeling happy, your body is producing happy chemicals which protect us against cancer, like imipramine, which is an antidepressant, and immunomodulators, like interleukins and interferons. Chopra said if you had to buy them, they might cost about $40,000! So when we are happy, our bodies are actually producing millions of dollars worth of anticancer drugs!
On the other hand, if you are feeling angry, or worried, sad and depressed, your body will recieve those toxic signals and release “sad” chemicals throughout your body. Anger, more than anything else, causes inflammatory disorders and guilt and depression is correlated with cancer.
Oprah quotes from Deepak Chopra’s book, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, “A remembered stress which is only a wisp of a thought, releases the same flood of hormones as the stress itself.”
Chopra explains that if you are fearful or worried about an upcoming event, you will release harmful “worry” hormones and in the same amount, if not more, than the actual experience itself. That’s because when you are actually in the midst of an experience, you have an alert response and your body will know what to do in that moment.
Whow! How many times have we heard “It’s caused by stress!”, “It’s stress related!”, “Stress Management!”, “Stress is a major risk factor for developing cancer and disease!” Now we know the science behind it!
Dr. Chopra tells us that ‘tears of joy” and ‘tears of sadness” actually have different chemical makeups!
Your mental state will even influence the way your body metabolizes. Dr. Chopra tells of a study done in Ohio State University where they were feeding rabbits diets extremely high in cholesterol. To their amazement, there was one group of rabbits that never develop high cholesterol levels. Afterwards they found out that the technician who was feeding this group of rabbits was not just feeding them. The rabbits were actually being stroked and kissed and cuddled before they were fed. And due to this pleasurable, happiness factor, the rabbits produced chemicals in their bodies that actually turned the cholesterol into a completely different metabolic pathway!
Deepak says that our bodies are nothing other than the projection of our own consciousness. If you think in your mind you are looking at the sun, your pupils will dilate, if you think you are looking in the dark your pupils will contract. Your expectancy determines the outcome.
To demonstrate this mind-body connection, he had Oprah do this ‘simple’ experiment.
Tie a string to a washer and hold it between your thumb and forefinger. Rest your elbow on your knee to securely hold your hand still. Without moving your hand, mentally have the idea that the string is moving back and forth. Remember, do not actually move your hand. Then once it starts moving, change the idea in your mind to change the swing in the other direction. Then after it swings in that direction, have the idea to swing it in a circle. And then mentally change the circle in the other direction.
Well, it seemed that Oprah did it! Some of us here thought we did it too! A ‘Twilight Zone’ moment!
How did Deepak Chopra adopt this medical approach?
Deepak Chopra said he learned about this mind-body connection by returning to his native country, India, and studying an ancient science called Ayurveda (pronounced, ‘aa-yer-vay-da’ ) which means “Science of Life”. It is 6000 years old and has its roots in ancient India. He felt that his medical training in America gave him the facts, but found that the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda can be looked at through the eyes of modern science.
Does this mean that if we get cancer, then we, ourselves caused it?
Dr. Chopra says it is much more complicated than that. We are participants in everything that happens in our life. But we can change our participation. To that extent, we have to take responsibility. For example, if you were to go to Dr. Chopra with a problem, he may ask you “What are the things in your life that you can change? Your diet, your lifestyle, your sleep patterns, your relationships? This question is referring to the amount of toxicity in your life, toxic environments, toxic food, toxic drinks, toxic relationships, even toxic emotions. All these toxins ultimately cause toxins in your body and you have to get rid of those toxins to avoid disease.
Ten people may be exposed to a carcinogen but not all of those 10 people will develop cancer. A hundred people may be exposed to a virus but not everyone comes down with the illness. So we need to look at those factors that make us susceptible and those factors that make us resistant to disease and cancer. Then we need to change those factors and take the responsibility to make those changes.
Maybe it’s genetics! Maybe we are just getting old!
Dr. Chopra feels the genetic component in aging is only very partially true. If your parents lived to be in their 80s, that genetic factor only adds three years to your life expectancy. But if you make life style changes, as we have said, by removing stress, toxins, and making dietary changes, you override the genes. With these changes, you not only can add 30 to 50 years to your life, but can add life to your years with healthy vitality.
Most people think that aging is normal but what is normal? Deepak Chopra says we are confusing normal with the psychopathology of the average, and average may be dull and uninteresting. There are people who at 25, look and behave like people who are 40. And there are people who are 60 that look and behave like people who are 40!
Chopra says that current prevailing scientific wisdom is telling us that our biological potential is at least 130 years old which means you are not even middle-age until you’re in your 70s!
Every cell in your body regenerates, so if you control every cell in your body you can remake yourself.
The human body replaces 98% of all it’s atoms in one year. You make a new liver every six weeks, a new skin once a month, a new skeleton once every three months, and in less than a year, you replace your entire body down to the last atom!
So what’s the best way to generate a Healthy, Disease Free, Brand New Body?
Your inner dialog is continually emitting signals to your cells. Just a “wisp of thought” releases a flood of hormones, chemicals and chemical messengers. So… Chopra says that whenever you react to anything, whether it’s a traffic jam, criticism from your boss, a love note, or even the rainy weather, be aware of the signals being generated within yourself. Instead of reacting externally, concentrate on your internal reactions that will produce happy, healthy chemicals.
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy!”
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