Building Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Strength During the Pandemic
By Deepak Chopra, Cassandra Vieten, Poonacha Machaiah, and Gabriella Wright
In the face of the pandemic crisis, there is a great opportunity. It is open to everyone, and it is free. We invite you, your family, and friends to this healing experience. If you want to find your inner strength, peace, and the end of anxiety, please sign up here: Never Alone Summit- a global mental health event. In the 3-day summit you will discover the inner breakthroughs that we all need to get past the mental pain and suffering that the pandemic brings in its wake.
At this moment some people have already found a creative way to move forward. They do not feel trapped, because they welcome the chance to put their everyday life on pause. Small opportunities are all around us, to bake bread from sourdough starter, finally build that raised garden bed, meditate, walk and do yoga, and work in pajamas.
For so many others, however, it is a time of depression, uncertainty, and anxiety. Some are lonely in isolation; some feel pressure from being crowded with others for extended periods.
Between the good and bad, for most of us it’s a little bit of both, depending on the day.
There is no need to wait for symptoms of anxiety and depression. There is no reason to live with the mental discomforts of the crisis when we can share in a healing experience together. That is the purpose of the 3-Day Never Alone Summit.
Here are some key points about meeting any psychological challenge:
· You have a source of inner strength that you can directly contact.
· You can build your mental health resilience — in other words, how you withstand and adapt to the challenges that arise.
· You can find support from others who want to be part of the global healing.
· You can be of service to anyone who is isolated and needs human contact.
· You can change the tone from panic to hope, from helplessness to reassurance.
To use a metaphor, you may not be able to determine what inner obstacle course you will face, but you can become more mentally and emotionally strong, nimble, and agile.
Attending to your mental health is just as important as your physical health. In truth, the two can’t be separated. Your stress level influences everything: your immunity, inflammation, your sleep and health behaviors — all of which have a pervasive effect on your mind, body, and spirit. Taking care of your mental, emotional and spiritual health cannot be separated from protecting your physical health. They are one and the same.
If you are starting to get a little anxious, you are not alone. It is projected that overall, mental health symptoms will substantially intensify during the pandemic. Many will lose hope, lose faith, or lose someone they love. Mental health is being called the “parallel pandemic,” expected to impact more people and for a longer period of time than the COVID crisis, especially for those without a history of depression and anxiety. Check out this chart from our friends at One Mind:
This makes it crucial that we all focus just as much on building our mental, emotional, and spiritual strength as we have focused on protecting ourselves from the virus.
Building mental health resilience — whether in yourself, or in someone you love or people you work with — relies on ALL aspects of our lives. Mental health has to do with how we think and feel and how our brain works, but also with how we move our bodies, what and how we eat, the microbiome in our gut, how we sleep, how we connect with community, nature, and spirit, where we place our attention, and even how we breathe.
It may seem overwhelming, but the good news is there are hundreds of evidence-based, simple (though not always easy) and free practices in each of these areas that can be gently included over time into our lives to boost mental health resilience in a short period of time. Not to be naive, even very small lifestyle changes can be surprisingly difficult — for everyone, especially when feeling down. But behavioral science also has proven methods for gradually anchoring new practices into your life — such as linking a new behavior to one you already do (doing five minutes of stretching whenever you brush your teeth, or meditating in your car for ten minutes when you park your car for work or come home).
You can build an ecosystem that supports your mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. What’s more, most of these practices are enjoyable, rewarding, and connect you with others — helping you to remember that you are not alone. At times, they even bring joy, wonder, and magic into your life — which are not the opposite of stress, but can be antidotes to stress.
This is why we have been pouring our hearts into creating Never Alone: A Global Mental Health Summit on May 22–24, 2020. A collaboration between our respective organizations — The Chopra Foundation’s #NeverAlone initiative and the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation — this 3-day livestream focuses on whole-person approaches to mental health. Attending this summit can help you build your own ecosystem for mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Featuring people like Deepak Chopra, Arianna Huffington, Mariel Hemingway, Don Miguel Ruiz, Zak Williams, Wim Hof, Rick Hanson, Shauna Shapiro, Luisah Teish, Dan Siegel, Rhonda Magee and dozens more, the over 70 talks running about 12-minutes each are designed to share ideas, inspiration, and practices you can use right away from experts, celebrities and athletes, and ordinary people with extraordinary stories. It is completely free, and will offer follow-up resources people can access post-summit. You can drop in and out whenever you like, and it will be viewable live or on-demand.
I hope you can join us there, and in the meantime, stay well.
DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 89 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential, unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”
Cassandra Vieten, PhD is Executive Director of the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation, Scholar-in-Residence at the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at the University of California, San Diego, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, where she served as President from 2013–2019. She is a clinical psychologist, mind-body medicine researcher, author of three books, and an international public speaker and workshop leader. www.cassandravieten.com
Poonacha Machaiah has over 20 years of global experience as a successful serial entrepreneur and business leader in Fortune 100 companies. Poonacha is among the new breed of emerging social entrepreneurs who are using approaches from the commercial world and employing technology to tackle social and environmental problems. He is Co-Founder along with Deepak Chopra and Gabriella Wright of the #NeverAlone initiative of the Chopra Foundation, dedicated to suicide prevention and mental wellness. thewarriormonk.com
Gabriella Wright is an English-French actress and model, best known for playing Queen Claude of France in the series The Tudors and Viola in the film The Perfect Husband. She recently played a significant role as Gina in the action thriller The Transporter Refueled. She is cofounder with Deepak Chopra and Poonacha Machaiah of the #NeverAlone initiative of the Chopra Foundation. She produced and starred in the 2020 film “I Am Never Alone.”
The “Never Alone” movement aims to build communities to encourage and empower young adults to reach out to a friend who may be struggling with their mental health. The goal of the movement is to reduce the stigma and allowing people to know they are not alone, build communities of wellbeing where people can speak about it and enable them with the tools to work through it. The campaign aims to bring together a coalition of mental health charities and initiatives in order to provide support for people affected by mental illness, along with raising awareness and tackling stigma.
The mission of the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation is to fund, conduct and promote evidence-based research on how different forms of holistic treatments — such as exercise, nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices — benefit mental health. Because the Brick Family funds all administrative expenses, all funds go directly to conducting and promoting science and programs to incorporate evidence-based holistic treatments into mental health care. The Brick Foundation has donated over $1.3M to scientific research and programs that incorporate exercise, fitness, nutrition, and mind-body practices into mental health promotion.