We all deal with stress in our lives, and it would be impossible to try to eliminate our stressors altogether. Factors like the pandemic and global unrest have spiked our stress levels in the last several years to unprecedented levels. But what we can do is focus on solutions, and acknowledge our resilience through all the challenges and stressors we face. 

Below, five thought leaders and experts — including Thrive’s founder and CEO Arianna Huffington — share the small solutions that help them deal with stress before it becomes cumulative and overwhelming.

“I do some really deep breathing. I actually have a breathing app on my phone. It takes all of about three minutes. We don’t always have 20 minutes to meditate, but I learned from a great meditation teacher that if you just sit in small increments throughout the day, those moments will add up like pearls on a string. By the end of the day, you have a string of beautiful pearls. And that’s really helped me.”

—Melinda French Gates, philanthropist 

“The next time you’re frustrated — whether it’s opening a jar of pickles, managing your Zoom account, or figuring out how to handle logistics for this school year — wonder aloud, ‘How else can I do this? Whom can I ask for advice? Is there an approach I haven’t thought of?’ And when at first you don’t succeed, ask, ask again.”

Angela Duckworth, CEO and Co-Founder of Character Lab and UPenn Professor of Psychology

“My anxiety usually hits me at night. I call it the witching hour, or the bitching hour. I know when I’m in a low place when those thoughts become dark thoughts — like, ‘I don’t like myself.’ What I’m learning is that meditation works by just allowing myself to not fight those thoughts. If you fight them or ignore them, they’re going to keep coming until you deal with them. During the meditation, I just allow those thoughts to come in, and then breathe them out. The mind is powerful — you’ve got to control that thing.” 

—Taraji P. Henson, Golden Globe Award-winning actress

“The best solution I have for managing stress — because I do have a very stressful life — is I have children who keep me balanced. I love my kids more than anything I’ve ever done in business, so that keeps me balanced. The second thing is that I weed my garden. You just have to find something that makes you relax, for me it’s weeding.”

Barbara Corcoran, businesswoman and investor

One way I reduce stress is by talking to my daughters, or taking a walk — or especially doing both at the same time! Both of these activities help me tap into joy and reframe any challenge I may be facing.”

—Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive