Stress is the main underlying cause of everything from disease to wars in our modern world.
That’s according to spiritual leader Deepak Chopra, who, along with Arianna Huffington, stood before a large crowd of students and community members at the UVA Rotunda this afternoon, an event put on by the Contemplative Sciences Center.
Certainly, many of our blog posts here have touched on stress and the toll it takes on the health of both the mind and body. As we’ve learned about the Integrative Medicine Program at the Cancer Center, Emotional Brain Training courses, meditation classes for care providers and stress reduction for heart health, we’ve discovered a range of ways that UVA promotes healing through stress-reduction.
Meditation is definitely a stress-reducing practice. Chopra underscored that even “10 minutes of meditation a day can change your life.” He then proceeded to lead the gathering in a guided meditation, a short journey through the various parts of the brain — the limbic/emotional center, the reptilian stem and the frontal cortex — to help each person experience presence and awareness. Huffington, who spoke briefly about learning to meditate at the young age of 13, a practice she’s relied upon her whole life, called this sense of awareness something that “you can always return to, no matter what happens, good or bad.”
After the meditation, Chopra asked everyone who had felt their heartbeat in their fingertips to raise their hands. Most did. “You have just lowered your blood pressure by 10 points,” he said, grinning.