The Top Leaders In Wellness Discuss How To Live Longer, Better: revitalize 2019
For the sixth installment of mindbodygreen's annual revitalize conference, we focused on longevity, consciousness, and community. Considering that the average life expectancy in the U.S. has decreased for three consecutive years and 46% of U.S. adults now report feeling lonely, these big topics are only getting more and more relevant.
This weekend, we gathered thought leaders, wellness pioneers, spiritual icons, and paradigm shifters to talk about how we're going to start living longer, better, more connected lives—and how we're going to get our communities involved too. Because, as mbg founder and co-CEO Jason Wachob told the crowd this weekend, "If only one of us is well and not the collective, we're not in a place of true wellness."
Here are the top take-aways from the event's main stage. If they leave you wanting more, don't worry! Every talk, panel, and keynote will be shared on the mbg podcast soon, so be sure to subscribe if you haven't already.
1. Conscious leaders are made, not born.
John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, kicked off the weekend with a candid talk on what it means to be a conscious leader. "Conscious leaders are purpose-driven, more loving and caring," he said. "They have a higher degree of emotional intelligence; they're more authentic, service-oriented, and spiritually awake." To access this more heart-centered type of leadership, he encouraged the crowd to view every person—in and out of the workplace—as a potential teacher. Mackey also reminded us that every stressful situation is an opportunity to grow, and when you remain calm through crisis, there's lots of opportunity for breakthrough.
2. We would all benefit from practicing gratitude more often.
Another actionable way to remain a level-headed leader? Make a list of what you're grateful for every single day. "I find that if you practice gratitude every day, your problems don't matter. They get put into perspective," Mackey said.
3. Steady habits are the foundation of a long, healthy life.
When functional medicine pioneers Frank Lipman, M.D., and Robert Rountree, M.D., took the stage to discuss longevity, they agreed that the secret to aging well is in healthy habits practiced steadily over a lifetime. While you can't stop the aging process in its tracks, you can slow it down by consistently getting better sleep, taking high-quality supplements, eating good food in moderation, and practicing kindness. "Be kind, be generous, and the other stuff is the icing on the top," Lipman said.
4. Sleep essentially cleans our brains from the day.
Former heart surgeon and New York Times bestselling author Steven Gundry, M.D., agreed that sleep is essential to longevity, going so far as to liken a good night of deep sleep to a "wash" for the brain.
5. There's a link between childhood trauma and adult-onset disease—but it might be curable.
Lissa Rankin, M.D., and Kelly Turner, Ph.D., have both spent years studying people who recover from severe illness using a blend of emotional, spiritual, and physical modalities. They had some fascinating insights into how the body can heal from all sorts of trauma—including the "Big T" traumas, or incidents that forever shape one's life view, as well as the everyday traumas that we experience simply by being a human on this earth. "We used to think trauma was incurable—especially big-T trauma—and you were 'damaged goods,'" Rankin said. "We now know it's completely curable." They referenced emerging research on tapping and EMDR in particular, naming those as two accessible healing modalities that can be practiced by the masses.
6. Finding purpose is the key to well-being.
One theme that kept coming up throughout revitalize was purpose. Purpose is the compass to a more fulfilling life, but while people usually think it has to be some big, grandiose thing, Turner thinks otherwise: "Not every person has a fat, juicy purpose. For some people it's to enjoy every day," she said. "What better purpose in life is there than to feel good all the time?"
When asked about what people can do to narrow in on their purpose, spiritual icon (and winner of this year's mbg Lifetime Achievement Award!) Deepak Chopra, M.D., said to "Ask yourself what would you do if you had all the money in the world and all the time in the world. And that'll give you a clue."
7. Love lies at the heart of wellness.
Over the course of the weekend, Chopra said, "Love is the ultimate truth at the heart of the universe... Action without love is irrelevant"; Rountree named "loving more" as one of his top keys to longevity; and Mackey told us that "We must be the love we wish to see in the world." While there are many things that wellness leaders debate these days, the role of love in a healthy life definitely doesn't seem to be one of them.
8. Mind-altering drugs are incredibly powerful, and the wellness world should approach them with caution.
Psychedelic drugs are becoming more common in the wellness world—used to help people work through trauma of all sorts. At revitalize, Jason Wachob welcomed four experts with four very different opinions to the stage to talk about the risk and potential of these substances: Melissa Hartwig Urban, Whole 30 founder; Ellen Vora, M.D., holistic psychologist; Molly Maloof, M.D., personalized medicine physician; and Rich Roll, author, athlete, and plant-based pioneer. The consensus? While they have proved valuable for some, they should be approached with extreme caution.
"You can have 19 meaningful, good trips and one bad one that profoundly affects your life afterward. That is the level of risk we have to talk about—this is your brain," said Hartwig.
"There still is uncertainty. To me, you mess up your microbiome, we can fix that," added Wachob. "You roll the dice with your mental health…it's very hard to reclaim that."
9. Real talk: We all need to wake up.
"We need to be woken up because everyone right now is experiencing a lucid dream in a vivid now," Deepak Chopra told an engaged crowd. His talk was an invitation to bring more presence, more awareness, to every situation and remember the divine in each human experience.
10. The future does not belong to those who are afraid.
Author, actor, and public speaker Hill Harper was the last one to take the main stage this weekend, and he challenged the audience to take everything they had learned and fearlessly share it with their communities. "Perfection stops action; our need to be perfect, our need to get it right, stops us from being truly innovative," he said. "The future belongs to those who can blend passion, reason, and courage."
Don't forget to keep an eye on the mbg podcast in the coming weeks for the complete talks! Be the first to know when they drop by signing up for our podcast newsletter and subscribing to us on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher.