Kristen Bell says first started speaking publicly about her mental health for a very practical reason: She ran out of other topics to cover in a long series of interviews and her husband Dax Shepard suggested it.
Talking about mental health wasn’t easy in the beginning for The Good Place actress. â€śThen I realized that this is the shame that prevents people from talking about it,” she says in the November issue cover story for Women’s Health. “I immediately felt irresponsible, because I do care about depression not being taboo, yet I present this bubbly, outgoing girl who seemingly gets through life with a smile on her face, and Iâ€™d never discussed that some days, I donâ€™t.â€ť
Since then, Kristen has taken every opportunity to shed light on mental health. As the cover star for the Women’s Health Mind Issue, Kristen shares the many tools and treatments that help her manage her depression and anxiety.
She says she takes an SSRI antidepressant every day that helps with what she describes as â€śwaves of serotonin imbalance.â€ť Kristen also relies on a CBD oil, which she takes by the dropper-full. She says taking the oil daily has turned off her mental to-do list, which had previously been on a constant loop.
(FWIW, there’s a growing pool of research suggesting CBD has legit benefits for pain relief, but some experts say more is needed. “We don’t have what we’d want in terms of clinical trials on [CBD’s] safety and efficacy for anything beyond treatment of rare seizure disorder. We need more research,â€ť Ryan Vandrey, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins Medicine, previously told Women’s Health.)
Kristen also credits adaptogens (herbs whose efficacy for stress reduction is still being studied) with smoothing out her physical reaction to spikes of the stress hormone cortisol.
She also says she goes to therapy occasionally but relies mostly on a â€śtoolboxâ€ť she and Dax developed when they went to sessions early in their relationship. Itâ€™s how theyâ€™ve created helpful rulesâ€”like if sheâ€™s in a down mood, sheâ€™ll tell him sheâ€™s going to be quiet for a bit, so he knows her silence isnâ€™t aimed at him.
Meanwhile, Kristen Bell’s girlfriends offer her a therapeutic outlet via a video chat app.
Exercise also helps Kristen’s mental health. â€śIt should be the first stop for anyone who experiences depression or anxiety because it encourages serotonin and endorphins,” she tells WH. “I feel so much more centered, patient, capable. It sets the next 48 hours for me.â€ť Her preferred workout is at a local studio called Studio Metamorphosis.
Kristen speaks openly to her children about mental health, too. She specifically wants them to know it is okay to be sad. “I think you can run into trouble when you tell your kid, ‘Youâ€™re okay, donâ€™t be sad.’ And you canâ€™t have people run from their emotions. Everyone is allowed to feel what theyâ€™re feeling.”
A version of this article originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of Womenâ€™s Health. Pick up an issue on newsstands October 15.