Arianna Huffington on Wellness, Joy & Sleeping

Last night I attended my good friend, Dr. Frank Lipman's Conversation on Sustainable Wellness at Urban ZenDr. Frank's guest was Arianna Huffington. Arianna was funny, engaging, and passionate about wellness (and taller than you think).

Arianna said her wellness journey began with her children. She could never understand why 6 million kids "needed" medication for ADD. When her own daughter had some issues with eating, she said the doctor tried to convince her that she "was deficient as a mother" because she wouldn't put her daughter on anti-depressants, instead wanting to find and deal with the root causes (which she successfully did). Arianna had some wonderful thoughts and soundbites on wellness, and here are some of my favorites.

Forgiveness:

"If there is one thing that is essential for healing it is forgiveness... Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself. I used to be the most self-judgmental person. I call this my 'obnoxious roommate voice'.....I try to watch and observe, and when my obnoxious roommate makes an appearance, I say 'what are you doing here?'

Detoxification:

"I believe in the detoxification of the body, mind, and heart." 

Grudges (possibly my favorite line of the night):

"Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

Wellness, Health & Politics:

"We can spend all the money we want on health care but prevention and wellness are the only true ways to control health care costs... Health care dollars focus on disease and end of life care, not prevention and wellness... We're not connecting the dots and need to move from an emphasis on sickness to an emphasis on wellness."

The Power of Joy and 'Joy Drinkers':

"I don't know about scientific research on this but I believe in the power of joy. I have 'joy drinkers' that I look at during the day." Arianna says sometimes it's a "picture of my kids before they got older and problematic, sometimes it's a cappuccinno with a shot of espresso." She says she drinks coffee, but not too much. She also loves massage, saying, "All that stuff we hold onto in our bodies, and to feel that release!" Dr. Frank then added that the fact is that when "people have joy, they get better."

GPS for the Soul:

"Most of the time planes fly off course, but they have an amazing course correcting mechanism... If we had one for the soul that said, 'go meditate, go do yoga --- whatever is restorative for you, go do it...." She added, "If it works for you, use it."

Sleep:

"The most important choice for me is prioritizing sleep. I learned the hard way." Arianna sad she suffered from exhaustion, collapsed on her desk, hit her head, and ended up with five stitches on her eye! She went on to say that so many of us drive ourselves into the ground.

"When I get enough sleep, I'm less reactive, more creative, more joyful, and more effective."

"If you can't sleep I don't think the default position should be a sleeping drug."

Arianna never charges her devices in the same room that she sleeps in and points to the scientific evidence that the darker the room we sleep in, the deeper the sleep. When she walks into a hotel room she's "amazed by all the little lights on the TV, the phones, they're everywhere." She also advises to never go look at your phone or computer in the middle of the night, because even if you go back to sleep "it's not the same."

Sleep and Doughnuts:

"We have sleep rooms at AOL. It's better to have a nap than to have a doughnut."

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