Interview: Arianna Huffington

By Michelle Manelis

Interview: Arianna Huffington
Media mogul and author Arianna Huffington explains why we need to disconnect from technology to recharge our lives.

Best known for her online news platform, The Huffington Post, of which she is co-founder and editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington, 64, is now on a mission to encourage people to unplug and de-stress.

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder is Huffington’s 14th book to date and discusses the issues of parental obligations, juggling demanding careers, and the modern-day afflictions of stress-related illnesses and burnout. 

The media queen and author maintains that in order to live a full life, we need to re-evaluate the definition of success. In doing so, we must unplug. 

“We are living under a collective delusion that somehow the only way to succeed is to keep plugged into our devices and our work 24/7,” she says.

“In fact, the truth is that’s what kills creativity. The way we talk about sleep, renewal, meditation and prayer as being self-indulgent, or a luxury, is something we need to look at,” she adds. 

“I have 55 pages of scientific end notes in Thrive that show everyone, including our world leaders, needs to practise renewal, unplugging, recharging, disconnecting from our devices. Otherwise, we make terrible decisions as well as affect our health
in a negative way.”

As the boss of more than 800 employees, does this revered Greek-American, who is listed as the 52nd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes, take her own advice?

“Yes, at The Huffington Postwe absolutely practise what I preach,” says Huffington.

“We want everyone who works there to feel valued as human beings – and not just for the work that they produce and their level of stamina. That means [prioritising] their own health and wellbeing.

“We have an email policy whereby once you are off work, you are not expected to be on email. If we need you, if there is something urgent, we call or text you, but that rarely happens.

“We have nap rooms in New York and in Washington, and we should have nap rooms everywhere. We offer yoga classes, meditation classes and healthy snacks – just ways for people to be able to renew and recharge themselves during the day. The idea of people being congratulated for working 24/7 is just absurd.”

For all her achievements, would Huffington change her life if she were able to do it all over again?

“If I had my life all over again, I would worry less,” she smiles.

“I think women spend way too much time worrying about a lot of negative fantasies. Montaigne, the French philosopher, said it best,” she laughs. “He said, ‘I had many terrible things in my life, but most of them never happened’.”

Arianna Huffington will tour Australia in September.

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