At the center of Gisele Bündchen’s life philosophy, and the core message underlying her newly published best-selling memoir, Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, is the highest valued human emotion: Love. “The most important thing that I want everyone to take from the book is: Live your life with love. If we’re not loving toward ourselves, we can’t be loving toward others. Everything starts with ourselves,” she says. The supermodel, U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, and environmentalist offers poignant insights to live by in a contemplative exchange with Arianna Huffington on the Thrive Global Podcast, in partnership with iHeartRadio and Sleep Number. Their conversation included three valuable science-backed takeaways that will improve your life.
Make love your creed
Love is the engine that fuels every facet of Bündchen’s life – and her spiritual practice. “Love is my religion because love is the only thing that [communicates] across the board,” she says. “It is the only truth… the only guiding light in my life.” Adopting Bündchen’s point of view could benefit you immensely. Studies spearheaded by Kory Floyd, Ph.D., a communications professor at the University of Arizona whose research focuses on how affectionate communication affects human health, demonstrate that expressing our love in word or deed increases immunity and lowers stress hormones, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
Don’t be controlled or defined by what others think
Bündchen actively resists being defined by others. “Anytime that you become so defined by a title, or something, you can become enslaved by it,” she tells Huffington. “That can put you in a box… We are not just one thing.” And not only do we “contain multitudes,” as the poet Walt Whitman once wrote, we also can be more fully ourselves if we avoid getting caught up in the trap of worrying about what others think of us.
“Most of the time what people think of us has nothing to do with us. It’s mostly to do with what they feel about themselves,” Bündchen points out. Science proves she’s right about that: A 2004 study showed that egocentricism muddles our ability to see one another accurately. Keeping that in mind will help liberate you from being preoccupied with other people, and will allow you to focus on your own personal development instead.
Get rid of the clutter
When Huffington asks if Bündchen’s extremely tidy and spare home helps her remain present and productive, she responds, “I think so for sure. I can’t think in a messy or cluttered environment. I like only the necessary.” The reason she likes things to be “very clean and neat and organized” is because she thinks her energy can flow better in those environments, boosting her creativity. Studies buttress her point of view. A Princeton study found that an accumulation of detritus challenges our ability to concentrate and complete tasks efficiently. To boot, if we think of our homes as healing sanctuaries, as Bündchen does hers, it can improve our mental wellbeing, according to a 2010 study.