Goldie Hawn Teaches Kids How to Deal With Stress and Anxiety

By David Konow 05/16/17

The actress is using her own struggles with anxiety and depression to teach kids how to cope early on.

Goldie Hawn and Ruth Buzzi in 'Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in'
Goldie Hawn and Ruth Buzzi in 'Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in' Photo via Wikimedia/NBC Television

While it didn’t live up to expectations at the box office, many fans were happy to see Goldie Hawn headlining a big screen comedy again with Snatched. Hawn has been a show biz fixture for decades—not just as a comedienne but as a dramatic actress and producer as well. And like many celebrities, the Hollywood veteran has also been speaking publicly about her experience dealing with stress and anxiety.

A recent interview segment with Hawn on CBS News opened with her speaking to kindergarten students, telling them it’s important to have “a brain break.”

“Why do we need a brain break?” she asks the classroom.

“Because every brain needs a break,” the students respond.

Hawn has spent a great deal of time working with neuroscientists and psychologists to create a lesson plan that teaches kids how to deal with anxiety early on. Her new mission “comes from deep inside of me,” she says. “It has nothing to do with what I do, making people laugh or being an actress, but it has a lot to do with who I am, and it matters to me.”

One reason why Hawn wants to help children deal with stress is because she had issues with depression and anxiety herself. Hawn originally wanted to be a dancer, and becoming a featured dancer on the hit comedy series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In made her a star. But like many talented performers, she was riddled with self-doubt and says that when she became a star, “I was turned upside down about my own reality. I had anxiety, I didn’t want to go anywhere. I lost my smile.”

Hawn went into therapy for nine years, and her family has kept her grounded as well. Hawn has also adopted Buddhism, and even used a Buddhist phrase for her autobiography A Lotus Grows in the Mud

She told CBS News, “I’m still learning.” And to the children she encounters, she wants them to understand that positive feelings begin with your thoughts.

“You lose hope, and you lose everything,” she explains. “You lose your tickle and your joy, and you lose everything. The whole idea of life, to me, is growth. I mean, you stop growing, you stop asking questions, you lose your curiosity. That’s not a life you want to live.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.