The One Healthy Thing All Successful People Do, According to Arianna Huffington
With health-focused blogs and Instagram accounts, digital downloads, apps, and dedicated online programs, learning how to live better is easier than ever. After all, the internet makes it a breeze to tap into legitimate expert wisdom, whether you’re looking for mental or spiritual guidance or help eating right, sleeping more soundly, or even becoming stronger. We caught up with Arianna Huffington, the founder of Thrive Global, to talk about her Thrive Global/iHeart Radio podcast and what she’s learned from talking with well-known guests about their wellness routines. Here’s what she says it means to thrive, along with the one thing she’s found that every person living their best life is doing the same.
Brit + Co: Thrive Global’s mission is to end the stress and burnout epidemic by offering science-based solutions to enhance well-being, performance, and purpose. Tell us, what does the word “thriving” mean to you personally?
Arianna Huffington: To me it means living a life of well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving, fueled by a sense of purpose and a healthy — not obsessive — relationship with technology. And in a personal way, it means honoring one of the best pieces of advice my mother gave me, and one I had difficulty following for a long time: “Don’t miss the moment.”
B+C: That’s a great piece of advice. How can a person who isn’t currently thriving get to a state where they are?
AH: First, if a person actually wants to thrive, it’s a very good sign, because it means they’ve shattered the myth that stress and burnout are the prices we have pay for success. Throwing off that collective delusion is the first step. But, of course, knowing you need to make a change and actually doing it are two different things. There are many ways to enhance your well-being, and what you need to do will vary from person to person. But two places to start are trying to get more sleep — even just a bit more will help — and creating a healthier relationship with technology. At Thrive, we break it all down into micro steps — small, actionable changes people can incorporate into their daily lives right away.
One of my favorite micro steps, which touches both the bases of sleep and technology, is to not sleep with your phone in your bedroom. Our phones are repositories of everything we need to put away to allow us to sleep — our to-do lists, our inboxes, the demands of the world. So putting your phone to bed outside your bedroom as a regular part of your bedtime ritual makes you more likely to wake up as fully charged as your phone.
B+C: You champion wellness at work to stay balanced. What inspired this perspective? How has your personal wellness routine evolved, and what does it look like today?
AH: I’ve always been interested in the principles that are now the foundation of Thrive Global. But I didn’t always live them. In 2007, two years into building The Huffington Post, I collapsed from burnout and exhaustion and broke my cheekbone.
As I was going around to various doctors’ offices for tests to find out what was wrong with me, I had the time to finally ask myself some questions about how I was living my life. What I found out was that I was suffering from an acute case of burnout. So I made changes in my life based on what I was learning about the latest science regarding well-being and productivity. Now my routine is very different. I get more sleep, I meditate, I make time to unplug and recharge.
B+C: Your life is busy. How do you stick with your routine in stressful, or chaotic times?
AH: It’s really not hard to stick with these healthy practices during stressful or busy times because I now realize that it’s in those times when prioritizing my well-being is most valuable. I prioritize it.
B+C: We’re excited about your biweekly iHeartRadio/Thrive podcast series. What’s been the biggest surprise about podcasting so far?
AH: What’s been most surprising is how many very successful people (from entertainment, sports, and business) are incredibly eager to talk about their well-being routines and how they stay productive — and to open up and be vulnerable about what they wish they could change about themselves, their work and their lives. So it’s been tremendously exciting to share these authentic conversations with Thrive’s global audience.
B+C: Have you noticed any consistent aspects, habits, or rituals that thriving people all seem to share?
AH: They all have ways of unplugging, re-charging, and connecting with themselves. They might do it in different ways, but they’re all very deliberate about building that time into their day.
B+C: Which podcasts do you regularly tune into and love? What strikes you as most compelling about them?
AH: TED Talks. I love the variety of TED Talks; you never know what you’re going to get, but it’s always going to be inspiring and uplifting. StarTalk Radio Show with Neil deGrasse Tyson is is another one; I love Neil because he’s all about maintaining our sense of wonder, which is incredibly important for a thriving life.
B+C: Who else do you hope to chat with on the iHeartRadio/Thrive podcast? What intrigues you most about them and their story?
AH: I’m delighted to share our next two podcasts with Chelsea Handler and our first couple, Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent! We’re now in our second season, and every single guest reminds me that no matter how successful a person is, no matter how perfect their life appears, everyone faces challenges and is working on themselves. And it’s such a joy, every time, to be present as they share their stories.
Which podcasts help you stay healthy? Tweet us your faves @BritandCo!
(Photos via Arianna Huffington / Thrive Global)