It's the Monday evening before election day. My heart is racing with anxiety, end of day deadlines are quickly approaching, and two cars are honking right outside my Brooklyn apartment. Not the ideal mindset you want to be in before hopping on a phone call with Gabrielle Union.
But the minute we begin speaking, the mood shifts. "Don't give the noises in your life a story," Gabrielle Union says. It's a phrase she's recently learned from actress Logan Browning—whose guided meditations Gabrielle started doing on Instagram. It's perfect for the moment and a mantra she's continued to replay throughout the pandemic. I instantly write it down.
To say that the past few months have been tough is an understatement. Now more than ever, it's important to protect your mental health. Gabrielle Union knows this.
The busy mom, actress, wife, and mogul has been a mental health advocate for years and suffers from PTSD, as she told Women's Health during her October cover interview. She's a big proponent of therapy and mindfulness practices in general.
A big one Gabrielle does on the regular is what she calls, "Operation: Shut It Down."
"I'm one of those people that believes in a good solid ritual and a schedule," she tells Women's Health. And so throughout the day, Gabrielle makes a list with tiny boxes next to each to-do item, checking it off one-by-one.
At night, when it's time to go to bed, shutdown begins. She puts the list away, turns off her phone and television, picks out her outfit for the next day, and reflects quietly in her bedroom (or bathroom, if necessary!) on her intentions for the next day.
"A lot of that requires a bit of stillness," Gabrielle says. "And I know it's hard to come by." On the days that it is, she tries to give herself grace.
She's also made Browning's meditations a part of her morning routine, a practice that's been helping both Gabrielle and her husband Dwayne Wade stay on their mental health A-game. "It's something that we actually do individually every morning to start our day," Gabrielle says. "It's just a perfect way to calm yourself so you can be everything to everyone."
A post shared by Gabrielle Union-Wade (@gabunion) on Nov 5, 2020 at 10:16am PST
Meditation is part of how Gabrielle learned to quiet the noise.
She says it helped her learn this important lesson: "Remind yourself that you're just a witness and things are going to happen," Gabrielle says. "We don't have to give them stories or negative narratives, and allow them to dominate our day."
Gabrielle says this lesson has lead to more personal evolution and peace in the last few months that she never even realized she was closed off from. "It was just a massive aha moment for me," Gabrielle says.
She hopes others can experience the same thing during a virtual meditation she's holding with Logan and Dwayne on November 17 on Chase's Youtube Channel at 8 p.m. The (free!) session will be followed by a Q&A about mental health and diversity in wellness.
"Health and wellness are global needs and desires," Gabrielle says. They should not be seen as aspirational, luxury, or something that's solely for a certain demographic of folks, she emphasizes. "It really does take all of us wanting those kind of diverse voices, leaders, and businesses to be a part of this movement."
And just like that, the noise around me quiets and as we say goodbye, a call to action hangs in the air.
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