Mental Health//

Maria Menounos: “You Have to Give Your Brain a Rest Every Day”

The TV personality shares what causes her stress, the signs that she’s reaching her breaking point, and the steps she takes to pull herself back to a calmer place.

Welcome to Thriving Mind, a resource to help you understand your individual signs of stress, take small steps to recharge, and unlock better mental health.

When Maria Menounos needs a reminder to slow down, she often rubs her scalp to feel the scar left by surgery she underwent to remove a brain tumor back in 2017. The tumor was ultimately benign, but the whole ordeal was a big wake-up call for Menounos — who shrugged off signs that something was “off” for two years. Despite her blurred vision, headaches, and trouble speaking, Menounos didn’t feel she had time to get checked out — until, of course, the symptoms became hard to ignore. 

“I’d go to the doctor when it was important, but a lot of times I would shush my body because I was super busy and I didn’t have time,” Menounos tells Thrive. Her inclination, she says, was to “push through”: “I’d feel like, ‘I still have to get this done, I still have to figure it out, even though my head would be about to explode.’” 

Today, Menounos — who is wearing more hats than ever as a celeb, author, television host, and co-founder of “AfterBuzz TV” — has an entirely new outlook on self-care. Her #1 rule: Don’t ignore the messages your body and mind are trying to give you. 

But many people overlook this rule, and in some cases, their warning signs are simply unseen. Before we can fully cope with our stress, we need to develop awareness of what our stressors are in the first place — and actionable steps that support our mental well-being. A new Thrive Global survey of over 2,000 Americans ages 18 to 85 shows just how desperately people want and need that knowledge: 91% of respondents said not knowing or ignoring their personal signs of overstress had a negative impact on their mental well-being, 72% wish they knew more small everyday steps to improve their mental health, and nearly half said when it comes to managing their stress, they don’t know where to start. Because there is power in sharing our stories, Menounos is opening up about her own stressors, her signs of overstress, and the small, everyday steps she takes to take care of her mental well-being.

Thrive Global: What causes you stress?

Maria Menounos: When I can’t fix something, or I don’t have a solution. Or when I can’t properly communicate something to someone. 

TG: What are the signs that you’re starting to become overwhelmed?

MM: Sometimes I’ll get flushed. My face will get really hot and I get kind of like an anxiety in my chest. 

TG: What little steps do you take to help cope with stress?

MM: l go outside for five minutes and think about nothing. I just close my eyes, or I’ll focus on a tree or something, and it completely changes the game. I’ve learned the importance of taking little breaks. In the afternoon, I take a meditation break, but it’s like a sleep meditation break. When I feel like I’m going to explode, or I’m exhausted and I can’t keep my eyes open, I lie down for 16 minutes. When I get up, I feel like a new person. I think the biggest message I can tell people is that you have to give your brain a rest — no question. In this day and age, we are overstimulated. Every day you have to give your brain a break, and remember, it doesn’t have to be the traditional meditation.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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