Why Arianna Huffington Wants Women to Thrive (and Sleep)

By Erica Murphy

When you think of the word "thrive," what does it mean to you?

Do you think of a beautiful garden full of blooming flowers? Do you think of a bustling business that’s filled with customers? Or do you think of your own life and the success that you’re working toward? For Arianna Huffington, the word "thrive" is something she's spent her whole life thinking about, and to be honest, she’s got me thinking about what it means, too.

On March 25, Huffington released a book called "Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder," and it talks a lot about her struggles, what it means to be successful in life, about her work at the Huffington Post Media Group and the importance of sleep. On this same day, she spoke candidly with Barbara Walters about the things that happened in her life, leading her to write this book.

Early on, Walters asked her, "You said you are not leading a successful life, why not?" From there, Huffington went on to tell a story about how in 2006, she fell over from exhaustion. This moment fueled her decision to tell her story. She said, "If we don't nurture ourselves, than obviously we are going down a dead end." Now I'm sure we all haven't had as crazy experiences as this one, but I bet there have been moments in all of our lives where we think about how we're handling life in general. Are we being healthy? Do we have the right priorities? Is there something we're missing?

For Huffington, it wasn't as simple as solving all her problems just by writing a book. "We're all a work in progress," she says. It takes work to nurture ourselves every day, and we often let it slip through the cracks (myself included). But how do we go about working on ourselves? Is it meditation? Is it getting eight hours of sleep? Is it exercising? It’s different for everyone, but it all starts with five minutes, according to Huffington. Just take five minutes of your day to focus on yourself and give yourself some quiet time. Huffington quoted Iain Thomas: "And everyday, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, 'This is important'…and each day, it's up to you to yank your hand back, put in on your heart and say, 'No, this is what's important.'"

While Huffington talked a lot about herself and how she's thriving, she also spoke about how women as a group need to thrive.

At the Huffington Post, she wants to change the corporate culture and language, and give young girls a role model to look up to. "The only role models we have are burned out, sleep-deprived men in suits. We need another way," Huffington said. And she's right. From high school, to college, to the professional world, people are always bragging about how much they accomplished in one day, on little to no sleep (sorry, but women do this, too). Wouldn’t it be so much more inspiring to see someone accomplish all these same things, but while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

Life is a balance, and it's something we all have to work on from the inside out, especially the millennials. Here's a word of motivation, Huffington thinks it's our generation that's going to remake the world. But, she also thinks we’re the most stressed generation, too. "Stress is an epidemic," she said. 

Meditation, de-stressing, getting sleep, these are all things we can work on, and these are things that we have to work on. "Happiness is something we can learn," Huffington said. "These are all muscles we can strengthen." 

What does it mean to you to "thrive"?

Get to know more about Huffington's story by watching her MAKERS video above.

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