Put Down The Phone: Arianna Huffington On Her Latest Mission Of Mindfulness

Put Down The Phone:

Arianna Huffington On Her Latest Mission Of Mindfulness

Photo courtesy of Eluxe

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It’s been a year since Arianna Huffington departed her position as CEO of The Huffington Post, and began her new platform, Thrive Global. Since then, Thrive has championed an approach to the media industry the likes of which had yet to be seen, encouraging a detachment, rather than a dependancy on your phone.

In Thrive, she has created a go-to hub for health and wellness in an age of stress, burnout and overstimulation. Having collapsed ten years ago because of the above, she has since devoted her time to spreading the word of wellbeing in the working world.

From workplace sleep rooms, to downtime sans mobile devices, Huffington has lead the charge for a life separate from work, separate from your phone, and away from social media.

“Not being able to set boundaries, on social media, or games like Candy Crush, is a major threat to our humanity and to our mental health.”

-Arianna Huffington

Huffington’s desire to separate from the social spheres will culminate in the launch of the Thrive app, launching next month, that will actively ensure you have time away from Instagram and the hoards of people emailing/texting you. “It helps you manage your attention,” she says. “It allows you to put your phone in ‘Thrive’ mode whenever you’re doing something that matters to you, like having dinner with your family, doing deep work, sleeping.” If you text someone in “Thrive” mode you will receive a text back to say they’re busy and and away from their phone. 

Huffington’s plans to affect change and implant the necessity of sleep and wellbeing span far beyond the reach of technology, however. Thrive’s latest launch sees them propelling 20 experts and entrepreneurs similarly minded, directional, and focused solely on improving the lives of themselves and others through movement, nutrition, sleep and mindfulness. Huffington, Schweitzer, Sadira Furlow of PepsiCo North America Nutrition and Candice Morgan of Pinterest selected the honorees. They represent Thrive’s interests by “prioritizing reducing stress and eliminating burnout in their lives,” and will fall under the website’s role models category.

At the aptly titled “Fuel List” launch, Huffington was joined by the winners at Pinterest HQ here in New York for a night of celebration, yoga and sleep(y) talk.

(L-R) Art Smith, Arianna Huffington, Stacey Griffiths, Nastia Lukin, Candice Kumai, Jessamyn Stanley, Ellie Krieger

From sleep doctors to yoga instructors, to the founder of Soulcycle, the calibre of people on stage was something to behold. Upon introduction, it was clear Huffington not only held her Fuel Listers in the highest regard, but that she was fully confident that they would be able to carry her message and positively impact Thrive readers and everyone else in the room.

But how were they chosen? “Impact was a big one,” says Callie Schweitzer, Chief Content Officer at Thrive. “Making sure these people were helping others change the way they work and live. We just really wanted to put the spotlight on people who weren’t well known, but were really changing the game in their field.” 

Nastia Liukin

Huffington hopes that the direction of the Fuel Listers will impress the fact that “well being and performance are closely aligned.“

“We look at how world-class athletes prioritize their well being because it directly affects their performance. If you look at Nastia Liukin, five-time Olympic gold medalist, she says their are no shortcuts to success. It takes patience, passion and persistence,” she continues. 

At the event, winners Nastia Liukin, Candice Kumai, and Jessamyn Stanley took to the stage to speak about their work and the turning points that lead them to where they are now. In a similar vein to Huffington’s collapse that lead to her re-evaluation of life and time, each of these women took one event on board in order to change both their lives and the lives of others. Now, as part of the The Fuel List, their reach will extend to the Thrive users around the world, and Huffington hopes that because of their background and expertise, their influence will be able to affect big changes in the way millennials view exercising, nutrition and wellness.

“Our work is to end the collective delusion that burnout is key to success. So for us, a huge part in changing this belief is naming and putting forward these new role models who are people that are living this way already, the enlightened – people that are already living and thriving.”

-Callie Schweitzer

It speaks to the success of Thrive, that in the year its been live, their reach has grown to 20M users, and that is due, in no small part to initiations like this list, and to Huffington’s experience in the media industry, and trends that are popular with her millennial readers.

The Fuel Listers

In order to connect with them nowadays, Thrive takes a multi-platform approach, something that wasn’t the case when she started The Huffington Post back 2005. “When I launched Huff Post in 2005, it was all about bringing people to Huff Post,” she remarks. “And something that’s accelerated this shift, is that we are in the attention economy. We are competing for users attention, and at Thrive we are prioritizing helping people navigate where they put their attention better.”

As they look to next year, both Huffington and Schweitzer agree Thrive will be heavily concentrated on video following the success of their latest video series Turning Point that focused on millennial women who did a big career pivot. “Optimizing for all platforms is essential,” says Huffington. “Video is a big priority for us, for the rest of the year and 2018.” 

“The focus now is on cross-platform, multiple platforms. We have about 20M users across all the platforms and we always optimize for all of them. The days of just expecting everyone to come to your site are long over.”

-Arianna Huffington

With mounds of evidence building that social media and the time we spend on our phone becoming detrimental to our success, Huffington and Schweitzer’s content is very much focused on upward directionality, tackling the problem head on rather than after an incident has occurred. “We are seeing such a direct connection between mental health problems – depression, anxiety etc. – and people losing themselves mindlessly in social media,” says Huffington. Enabling this is the promotion of people like the Fuel Listers, that engage in-person and through novels, cookbooks, mindfulness. It serves to remind that while Thrive may be a business and Huffington an entrepreneur, she is also a woman steadfast in her resolution to positively impact the lives of those that arrive on her site looking for an outlet or guide through which they can affect self-change. 

Fuel List photos courtesy of Gary He. This years winners are: Angel Kyodo Williams, author; Brené Brown, author; Dr. Ellen Langer, author; Leo Babauta, author; Khajak Keledjian, Founder, Inscape; Jessamyn Stanley, yoga teacher; Stacey Griffith, Founder, SoulCycle; Gideon Akande, fitness trainer; Joanne Encarnacion, blogger; Nastia Liukin, Olympic gold medallist; Art Smith, chef; Candice Kumai, chef; Ellie Krieger, chef; McKel Hill, nutritionist; Wendy Lopez and Jessica Jones, bloggers; Dr. Wendy Troxel, professor; Dr. Michael Breus, “The Sleep Doctor; Dr. Michael Grandner, academic; Dr. Els van der Helm, entrepreneur;  Dr. Matt Walker, professor.

Amy Corcoran

The Associate Editor of SWAAY: Amy is an Irish writer, avid foodie and feminist with an insatiable appetite for novels and empowering women's writing. She has enjoyed calling Dublin, Paris and now New York her home.

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