Goldie Hawn was in Australia last week asking us all to stop looking at our phones and focus more on the spiritual side of our lives.

Looking every inch the Hollywood star, the 71-year-old actress in more than 30 films, including Private Benjamin, Overboard, Death Becomes Her and First Wives Club, arrived at her Melbourne press conference looking fit and fabulous in a silk slip dress.

Hawn talked about the MindUP program, designed by her foundation for children, which helps them learn how to be less stressed and lead happier lives. The program is taught to nearly one million children in nine countries, including Australia.

She says the issues MindUP addresses are not only important for young people – they’re important for all of us.

“We live in a very stressful world,” she says. “I think we’ve got a lot of technology that is taking up a lot of our time. Every spare moment we look at our phones and that is not healthy.”

“I created this program because our children were suffering and the world was upside-down,” she adds. “We’re beginning to lose our compassion and our empathy.”

Grandparents have an important role to play
Hawn has said both grandparents and parents have major roles to play in helping young people become stronger. She said it’s important for children to have “time to breathe, time to play, time to create” – and that grandparents especially can bring these values to children’s lives.

“My grandchildren are the most important people in the world to me,” she says, but adds that she’s concerned about “children at large, all over the world”.

Hawn pointed out the children doing the MindUP program take it home with them: “They say it to the moms and their dads,” she said, giving the example of one child who was doing the program and said to their ‘mom’: “‘Relax mom, we’ll get there. Don’t be so anxious, take a breath.’

“This is what the children are teaching their parents. It’s really great,” she added.

There's a baby in all of us!! Love my funny Grand!!!

A photo posted by Goldie Hawn (@officialgoldiehawn) on Jun 26, 2016 at 11:55am PDT

Goldie Hawn spending some quality time with her grandson

9/11 was the trigger
Hawn said her inspiration for MindUP came after 9/11, when she realised the world had changed forever. She said she was concerned that we need to be able to foster the growth of better leaders in all countries, to help guide us through the major issues the world now faces.

“Children are going to become our future citizens and they are going to become our leaders. And they will hold the great wellbeing of this planet in their hands,” she said in Melbourne.

“Who is going to lead our countries?” she asked. “So, in order to bring up children who are strong, we are teaching their parents about how to manage their own emotions. And we’re teaching children how to reduce their stress themselves – how to become self-reliant.”

Hawn said while she thinks the ‘ABCs’ are important for children, they’re not enough and we need to teach our young people who they are and how they can handle their emotional conflict.

Unhealthy stress levels are high
Hawn said she feels there is “much more unhealthy stress today” and that many children suffer anxiety from all sorts of things, including the fear of families breaking up, national disasters, financial instability and bullying. All of these stressors are what she calls “unhealthy stress”.

“Children are not responsible in any way for anyone else’s emotions and I think that we, as a nation, we as a people, we as a global community, must have a responsibility to each other,” says Hawn.

She added that children soak up the stress from their home environment and this can then lead to further anxiety, bullying and suicide. Hawn said all of these reactions to stress can occur if we’re not taught how to deal with the stresses of life. (For more information on the stress young Australians face these days, visit Beyond Blue’s website here).

“We are a group of amazing humans that need each other… it’s nothing to do with religion, it’s nothing to do with colour, it’s nothing to do with anything,” she concluded.

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Hawn's MindUP program is taught to nearly one million children in nine countries

Hawn’s first visit to Australia in many years
This was Hawn’s first visit to Melbourne ever and only her second visit to Australia. She came out for a brief visit to Queensland years ago and said she’s always been keen to return.

“We had a wonderful time but we did not spend enough time here and I have been longing to come back,” she said last week.

Latest movie in cinemas next year
Hawn only recently returned to work as an actress after a long 14-year break. She accepted an offer to work with well-known comedy actress, Amy Schumer, playing the role of mother to Amy Schumer’s role in the movie.

Filming finished in Hawaii last month and the movie, as yet untitled, will be released next year. Hawn said it was a “wonderful experience” and it was “great to go back to film and go back to being funny”.

When asked why this particular movie lured her out of her retirement, she said: “This came along and it was funny. It is a buddy movie, it was a wonderful role, it had something to say about mothers and daughters. It sort of ticked all the boxes for me.”

While she was here in Melbourne, the actress also appeared in a comedy show at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne called A Night Of Laughs With Goldie. Hosted by The Project's Pete Helliar, it was her only live show during her visit to Australia.

Do you have a favourite film starring Goldie Hawn in it?

(Photos: © Jim Lee)

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