Kristen Bell Has a Mental Health Mantra for Both Herself and Her Daughters When Feeling Overwhelmed

Kristen Bell is well-loved for her roles in projects like Bad Moms, Frozen, and The Good Place. But although she always has a smile on her face on-screen, things aren’t always so rosy behind the scenes. Bell has struggled with anxiety and depression since she was a young woman, and for a while, the COVID-19 pandemic only made it worse. Bell works hard to find coping strategies to care for her mental health, and she’s also passing them on to her daughters. 

Coping with mental health problems 

Bell has been open about her struggles with mental health. According to Self, she first dealt with depression and anxiety when she went to college. 

“Why do I feel terrible and exhausted every day?” she wondered. “I wasn’t suicidal…. It was just a generalized dark cloud over me. I felt like my real personality was in a tiny cage inside my body.”

Bell’s mom, Lorelei, was able to help her with her problems. She explained to Bell that there was a family history of anxiety and depression, and she had nothing to be ashamed of. She also suggested that medication might help her feel better. Bell has shared that she still takes an antidepressant, and it’s helped her a lot. 

But during the pandemic, she found herself feeling overwhelmed by the suffering she saw on the news. Although medication is an important tool for her, Bell also understands that it’s only one part of a self-care plan that works. 

Kristen Bell’s top tools

Recently, Bell did an interview with CNBC, and she shared some of her best coping strategies for depression and anxiety. 

First, she says it’s vital to talk openly about her struggles. To do this, she had to face her fears about what people would think of her and reach out for help. 

Exercise is another important part of her plan.

“I notice a big difference when I do and when I don’t,” she explained in an Instagram post. “When I don’t, I’m sad, irritable, anxious and lethargic. When I do, I’m content, motivated, peaceful and energetic.”

Bell also makes good use of a tool used by many moms: the timeout. But instead of sending her kids away to cool off, she takes a few minutes by herself when she needs to de-stress. 

“Do you just want to let this feeling pass through you?”

Just as Bell’s mom was an important resource to her when she was struggling, Bell strives to be there for her own kids. According to Women’s Health, she and her husband Dax Shepard are open with their daughters about how they each take care of themselves. For Shepard, who is in recovery, that means going to AA meetings.

Bell likes to talk to her kids about what she’s learned about coping with painful emotions. She keeps in mind that they are simply “a feeling that is passing through you.” When one of her daughters is upset, she asks, “Do you want a solution to this problem you’re crying about, or do you just want to let this feeling pass through you?”

Another way the couple sets a good example for their kids is by going to therapy – both individually and as a couple. Bell believes all these efforts work together to make her life better, and she wants to help others do the same. 

  “You have a responsibility…to try and make the world a safer, better place for other human beings,” she said. And the first people she wants to help are her own daughters. 

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