In a revealing and deeply personal new interview, Kristen Bell has opened up about three strategies she uses to battle anxiety and depression – and also shares how she's teaching her daughters to understand their feelings.
The 41-year-old spoke with CNBC about what she's learned over the years since she started taking medication for mental health issues while at university. She's since become a tireless advocate for mental well-being, and also a big support for her husband, Dax Shepard.
The Frozen and Good Place star told the outlet it's important for her to have a toolbox full of strategies on hand so she can rely on them as needed. She also uses them as a type of preventative health care in addition to treatment.
"I have a preoperative list to combat [issues] because I know they're coming," she said.
The Golden Globe nominee also said she has three main strategies: talking about what she's feeling and experiencing, exercising and making time for herself.
Over the years, we've heard a lot about breaking through the stigma surrounding mental health and wellness. It makes sense Kristen would see the importance of talking about mental health issues from a personal as well as a celebrity perspective: She knows she can help a lot of people outside her own personal sphere of influence, and she told CNBC that the more she talks about what she's going through, the easier it gets and she worries less what others think of her.
One of the biggest things she said she's learned is that she is not her feelings, and that her feelings will eventually pass. The mom of two says she's now teaching this to her daughters Delta, 8, and Lincoln, 6.
"Do you want a solution to this problem you're crying about, or do you just want to let this feeling pass through you?" is something she told CNBC she often asks her girls when they're upset.
She said she's also found exercising one of the best ways to maintain an even keel or feel better, and that she notices much emotional difference when she moves her body and becomes "content, motivated, peaceful and energetic."
Kristen also emphasized it can be difficult – especially for parents – to take time away for themselves, but she's found it essential. She told CNBC that she feels overwhelmed, she takes 10 minutes away from whatever situation has come up to get her bearings. She also said that includes things that might happen at work.
"You don't have to have a reason [to take time away]," she told the outlet. "I'm not embarrassed about any of the time I need to take to help myself because that's making me a better me."
Kristen isn't the only member of her family who is candid about their mental health. Dax has often shared openly about his issues with substance abuse. Last year, he revealed he had bought painkillers after going through a motorcycle accident, but quickly found himself taking them "all day."
"I'm allowed to be on them at some dosage because I have a prescription, and then I'm also augmenting that," he said on his podcast at the time. "Then all the prescriptions ran out, and I'm now just taking 30mL oxys that I've bought."
He eventually realized he'd relapsed and heartbreakingly shared that he'd been high during the celebration of his sobriety anniversary. He let Kristen know and she was supportive.
"I will continue to stand by him because he's very, very worth it," Kristen said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in October 2020. "He is actually doing really great. Everybody is up against their own demons. Sometimes it's anxiety and depression. Sometimes it's substance abuse."
Kristen, Dax and their daughters have been making sure to take time for themselves by enjoying their summer with Delta and Lincoln. Kristen shared several adorable videos of the family on a road trip earlier this summer, and this weekend she took to Instagram to post a rare photo of the family basking in a sunset by a gorgeous pool. Delta and Lincoln's faces were obscured by emojis – something Kristen does often to protect her daughters' privacy.