I'm writing this on my front porch in Maui, feet up, sipping iced herbal Oprah chai. I just got off the phone with one of the graduates of The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy who's attending college in the U.S. I call them my South African girls. I currently have 20. Yes, all at the same time, in American schools.

"I'm so stressed" are the words I hear from them most often.

This girl was not only stressed, but overwhelmed and crying. Too many classes. Not enough time to do all that needed doing. Not enough sleep. Not managing well.

Sound familiar? I know if means nothing to them when I say college is practice for life. But I say it anyway: It will only get worse if you don't learn to manage your time now. And it's yours to design.

As we talked, I realized that my words of encouragement to this young woman were the same I've been giving myself for years. I said to her, "Daughter-girl, if you can get this at 19, you will save yourself a lot of days of being overcome by life's trials."

I told her: "Your primary job is to take care of yourself. You've got to decide to make your health and well-being your priority: otherwise you run out of oxygen. You become deflated and weakened and lose the will to keep going."

What I know for sure: Being well is a decision. Living well is the bonus.

Wellness flows from the inside out and, I believe, fundamentally begins with a spiritual practice. By spiritual, I mean that which nourishes your spirit or your heart and soul.

For me, that's sitting with my feet up, looking out over the ocean. Sometimes it's a morning hike, or sitting in silence being still, simply noticing that I'm alive and what a privilege that is.

Prayers and meditations need not be spoken. They're meant to be lived.

Being fully present in every moment is the greatest meditation I have found. It's a prayer of praise to appreciate the now—and the best way I know to create a sense of well-being.

Breathe into this moment—consciously, with gratitude— then the next.

You must be well in order to sustain doing well.

Get the being right, and the living will follow.


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