March 5, 2018

NBA's Stephen Curry on building resilience at work and home

With two National Basketball Association MVP titles and two league championship rings to match, Stephen Curry has become an international star on and off the court since his rookie year with the Golden State Warriors in 2009. Even amid his fame — not to mention that of his celebrity-chef wife, Ayesha Curry, and their daughters Riley, 5 and Ryan, 2 — Curry stays grounded through wins and losses, using the values he was taught as a kid to manage the inevitable stresses of modern life.

Kaiser Permanente recently caught up with Curry to talk about total health — mind, body and spirit — raising healthy kids, and the importance of resilience in weathering life’s ups and downs.

What does total health mean to you?

Total health means controlling, as best I can, how I feel on a day-to-day basis. Obviously, there are many stresses and variables in life that you can’t control, but you can find ways to cope with stress related to finding peace and happiness as best you can, whatever that means in your daily life. Having a full awareness of how those stresses can manifest themselves in your life, while being able to try to get in front of them as best as possible, is key. This includes your physical health and making sure you’re eating right, sleeping right, drinking water — all that good stuff — but also taking care of the mind, which is an extremely powerful thing. There are a lot of different ways that can help you stay grounded and stay positive and stay moving in the right direction.

How do you nurture resilience in kids, especially in today’s chaotic environment filled with social media, peer pressure and other realities of life?

Staying consistent with encouragement is key for how my wife and I parent our two daughters. We want to make sure that they are able to experience a lot of different things and be able to deal with failure and success, and to have confidence in themselves in anything they put their minds to. As parents, we have to stay consistent with our encouragement and our support and really try to promote open communication. We want our kids to feel like, if they have anything going on, anything they’re dealing with, that we can meet them halfway and help them through it while also allowing their personality and identity to shine throughout it all. You have to stay consistent with that presence.

Is that what your parents did for you? Is that how you maintained your resiliency as a kid?

One-hundred percent, yes. My parents made sure that I was exposed to a lot of different things and was able to test myself as I was growing up. They also helped me understand that everything wasn’t always going to be perfect and that I had to be able, through successes and failures, to keep confidence in myself. That was huge for me. They didn’t pressure me in any kind of way, shape or form. It was always that I knew I could talk to them about anything.

If you had a friend or family member who you think could be suffering from a mental health condition, how would you talk to them, or what would you do to help them?

I would try to be available and help them understand they are not alone in their situation. As lonely as they might feel in that moment, I’d try to help them see that there are plenty of other people going through similar things, and that there are people who can help them through it. I might not have all the answers, but if they have the willingness to open up and be honest about the situation and seek that help, I would hope that there would be somebody I knew or somebody I could connect with, or even somebody I could reach out to on their behalf to bridge that gap.

Of all the organizations that you can partner with, why partner with Kaiser Permanente?

I have been in the Bay Area for nine years now and have seen how impactful Kaiser Permanente is in the Bay Area community. My vantage point has specifically been around reaching out to the community about access to health care, on education and other beneficial programs, which are extremely important. I have learned a lot myself, having been closely connected to Kaiser Permanente in the last three years that we have been partnering together, including about mental health and ways to train the body, mind and spirit to help me with the things I am going through. I know the work Kaiser Permanente is doing to reach the community is huge, and that’s something I believe in 100 percent. They’re the best of the best.

What is the one thing you want kids to know about being focused and having a strong mental perspective in life?

No matter what you want to do in life, the key is having confidence in yourself and the belief that you can accomplish anything that you want to, no matter what anybody says about you, or no matter what your friends are doing next to you. You control your path, your destiny and how you want to impact yourself, your family and your community. And nobody can get in the way of that if you really are dedicated to doing it.