Events

Arianna Huffington offers wisdom for Huffington Center on Aging’s 30th Anniversary

Digital news powerhouse co-founder shares her new passion for health and wellness


By Britni R. McAshan | October 18, 2018

Baylor College of Medicine’s Huffington Center on Aging celebrated its 30th anniversary with a special address from author and digital news visionary Arianna Huffington.

The Center on Aging opened in 1988 after a generous donation from natural gas entrepreneur Roy M. Huffington and his wife, Phyllis Gough Huffington. They are the late parents of Michael Huffington—the speaker’s former husband. The center aims to fulfill the unmet needs of seniors while conducting research to better understand why and how we age.

“That honoring of old age and what older people bring to the family, to communities, to the world in terms of wisdom, understanding life is so key,” Arianna Huffington told the audience on Oct. 17, 2018. “The essence of the center which is not just to prolong life, but to prolong the health span so we don’t just survive, but we thrive.”

Huffington, a celebrated author of 15 books who co-founded The Huffington Post—a news and opinion website now known as HuffPost—was inspired to become a writer by her father.

“My father was a passionate journalist and he really inspired me to be a writer first,” she said. “Two years ago, I started Thrive Global. It is all about how do we help people reduce the stress and burnout.”

Thrive focuses on the health and wellness of readers by encouraging new, healthy lifestyle choices.

“I think that right now, more and more people are looking for ways for journalism to add value to their lives,” Huffington said. “We are increasingly addicted to our devices and so what we do with Thrive is give people microsteps … small behavior changes they can make that would make them less stressed, more productive and healthier in leading their lives. I think what the Huffington Center for Aging is doing is also looking at: How can we live our lives in ways that are more sustainable? How can we reduce stress? How can we help our bodies’ immune systems by not being perpetually run down and burnt out?”

Huffington set her sights on reducing stress and burnout after a life-altering experience.

“I actually personally collapsed from exhaustion and burnout in 2007,” Huffington said. “I decided after that to look at this delusion that so many of us are suffering from, that in order to succeed we have to burn out, always be on, never rest and that is what led me to finally want to leave The Huffington Post and launch a dedicated site and business to help corporations and individuals to help them reduce stress and burnout.”

Huffington parted ways with The Huffington Post after a decade as its editor-in-chief to focus her energy on increasing the health span of Americans through Thrive Global.

“I’m now 68 and I launched my second start up at 66. I started the Huffington Post at 55 and I have no intention of retiring,” Huffington said. “The reason I decided to leave The Huffington Post—which, frankly, Terry and Michael and everybody who knows me well thought I never would do—[is] I really thought I would die running The Huffington Post because I looked at it like a third child. The reason I changed my mind was because I realized there was something more important that I could do.”

Huffington believes there are many factors contributing to poor health as we age. One of the biggest, in her estimation, is the lack of sleep.

“I am a big believer in getting all the sleep you need—in my case it is eight hours a night,” Huffington said in response to a question. “In order to run my company, be a good mother to my daughters and get eight hours of sleep, it means I haven’t seen Killing, I haven’t seen Game of Thrones, I haven’t seen House of Cards. … I have a long list of shows I haven’t seen. But the good news is that I wake up fully recharged and I think that is something we underestimate—walking through your day fully recharged.”

Stress and loneliness, she says, are also killers. Through partnerships with Baylor College of Medicine and other health care leaders, Huffington hopes to change the culture of health and wellness around the world.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be here to honor the work of the Huffington Center on Aging, to honor Roy and Phyllis and all of you here who are doing such amazing work,” Huffington said to the crowd gathered at the Junior League of Houston. “Part of the gift of aging for me is you have a greater sense of priorities and a greater sense of perspective and that is one of the things I love about getting older. The things that would have bothered me when I was younger, don’t bother me now.”




Social Posts

profile_image

Harris Health System

@harrishealth

RT @HoustonFoodBank: Houston Food Bank got to attend the Healthier Texas Summit by @ItsTimeTX along with our partners in implementing a Foo…

33 mins ago
profile_image

Memorial Hermann

@memorialhermann

Today we are celebrating a special four-legged employee’s birthday. Learn more about Dexter’s job as Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital’s facility dog: https://t.co/8JWEJ14YdE. #dog #hospital https://t.co/L5mCMsNezE

33 mins ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

State Dept. VIP fellowship opens application period https://t.co/FbRosem1Ti via #VAntagePoint

41 mins ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

@KrissKringle Stella and her family are in our prayers.

48 mins ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Dr. Prathap Jayaram is joined by a special guest to show why it is important for scientists and researchers to talk with others about their work. View the full video on our Facebook page. #BCMAskMeAboutMyResearch https://t.co/KNTa3kangR

1 hour ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

RT @VAResearch: #VAResearchNewsBrief Supported employment improves overall #PTSD-related functioning, found a @DeptVetAffairs study. Indivi…

1 hour ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

RT @BCMHoustonJobs: Interested in a job in #Houston, TX? This could be a great fit: https://t.co/n8VDnCEbGz #Healthcare

1 hour ago
profile_image

Memorial Hermann

@memorialhermann

Rusti is celebrating two milestones this month—turning 75 and being cancer-free. Read her story: https://t.co/wFp5OCWzbK. #cancerfree #breastcancerawareness

1 hour ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

RT @ChronMed: Hurricane Harvey increased risk of serious medical complications in both pregnant women and their newborn babies, finds @bcmh…

1 hour ago
profile_image

UTMB Health

@utmbhealth

RT @UTMBProvost: SGA President Faith Mason, class of 2020, accepts the Health Education Center on behalf of the student body. She says inte…

2 hours ago
profile_image

UTMB Health

@utmbhealth

RT @UTMBProvost: Janiece Longoria, Vice Chair, @utsystem Board of Regents, dedicates the Health Education Center, stating its importance to…

2 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

.@pedroramirezMD shares how our multidisciplinary approach offers gynecologic cancer patients more options: https://t.co/WvLT8kZ2yW #gyncsm #endcancer https://t.co/k5n5Z8kwJI

2 hours ago
profile_image

Texas Children's

@TexasChildrens

The Department of Surgery at @TexasChildrens offers same-day surgical consultation appointments when you call to make an appointment before 12 pm. Learn more: https://t.co/3eTrQv6DeW https://t.co/M50f2eVpds

2 hours ago
profile_image

UTMB Health

@utmbhealth

RT @UTMBProvost: Dr. John Zerwas, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, @utsystem, says, “UTMB has led so many innovations in healt…

2 hours ago
profile_image

CHI St. Luke's Health

@CHI_StLukes

Can excess weight damage DNA to the point of tumor growth? The link between obesity and liver cancer may be more direct than previously thought: https://t.co/PYzOZS0caO @SeragHashem #LCAM2019 https://t.co/tFfmfmqjNT

2 hours ago