Gwyneth Paltrow, 47, has been self-isolating in Los Angeles with her two children, Apple and Moses, and her husband Brad Falchuk.
The Hollywood actress told the July/August 2020 issue of Shape magazine that she has felt both ’emotional stress’ and ‘peace.’
‘I had not realized how much the normal pace of life was overburdening our bodies, our minds, and our nervous systems,’ the Oscar-winning actress shared. ‘As we have been forced into the confines of our own homes, that has brought up a lot of emotional distress for some, and for others it has been very peaceful. In my case, I have experienced both.’
The GOOP founder went on to say, ‘I have started to settle down in my brain and body. It has given me new perspective about how much I will take on going forward.’
Her next project is season 2 of The Politician on Netflix, premieres on June 19.
‘Now I feel different, letting my body go to sleep and wake up in its natural rhythm, having my kids around all the time, eating meals together and having meaningful conversations.
‘We linger at the table; our dinners are an hour and a half long. My heart feels fuller, and my mind feels calmer in that respect.’
But she feels stress during the pandemic.
‘I haven’t fully figured that out,’ says Paltrow. ‘I try to do exercises every day for my back and neck because of all the Zoom calls I’m on. My husband, Brad, and I take a walk at least three or four times a week. And I’ve been doing a lot of online classes: Tracy Anderson, the Class by Taryn Toomey, Bulldog Yoga, CorePower Yoga.’
She asked Shape if she could interview an expert on the subject: Nadine Burke Harris, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., California’s first surgeon general.
‘I was intrigued that we’d never had a surgeon general in California,’ says Paltrow.
‘When I saw that Dr. Burke Harris was a female African American M.D. and had spent her career helping children who’d grown up in adverse childhoods in disenfranchised neighborhoods, I watched her TED Talk. And I sort of fell in love with her.’
Paltrow asked, ‘What happens in the body when we experience stress?’
The doctor said: ‘The fight-or-flight response is activated. The amygdala in our brain triggers the fear response, and that prompts the release of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases your blood pressure and your blood sugar, and it shunts blood to your big muscles so they work harder and more efficiently. Cortisol is more of a long-term stress hormone. It raises your blood pressure and your blood sugar as well, and it can make you slightly more aggressive.’
Gwyneth also said she was upset by how much domestic violence is happening during the pandemic. ‘It’s so upsetting and heartbreaking. I feel like we need to fix the systemic problems that cause trans-generational harm from parent to child. And this is what’s so beautiful about your work,’ said the Emma star.
Harris added, ‘That’s exactly what my work is focused on, even more so with COVID-19. Because if you have an adult who had adverse childhood experiences, they may have an overactive stress response.