Unplug from media, get more sleep, meditate and remember that money doesn't buy happiness. And business leaders, take note: Obsessing over short-term financial gains at the expense of employee well-being won't create companies that last over the long run.

You've probably heard these messages, or variations thereof, from any of today's best-known gurus of "mindful" living and effective leadership. Now there's a new high-profile evangelist joining the chorus to tell Americans to slow down and lead less frantic personal and work lives: Arianna Huffington. That's right, the empire-building global media mogul who runs the Huffington Post, the news website that helped define today's culture of 24/7 digital connectivity.

"Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder," a New York Times best-seller since its release in late March, offers a "blueprint" for redefining success and creating lives of "well-being, wisdom and wonder." She's been taking her message on the road and will be sharing it May 13 at the 25th annual conference of Professional BusinessWomen of California. Other keynote speakers at San Francisco's Moscone Center include Academy Award-winning actress Diane Keaton and U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier.

"The world provides plenty of insistent, flashing, high-volume signals directing us to make more money and climb higher up the ladder," Huffington says in her book. "There are almost no worldly signals reminding us to stay connected to the essence of who we are, to take care of ourselves along the way, to reach out to others, to pause to wonder and to connect from that place where everything is possible."

While some of Huffington's prescriptions for what she calls America's "hurry sickness" may not be new, they are getting notice because they come from someone who is so famously ambitious and hard-charging. She also says that much of the "ancient wisdom" she cites in her book is increasingly backed by science.

Via phone and email, the Greek-born, Cambridge-educated Huffington explains how "Thrive," her 14th book, comes from her own wake-up call April 6, 2007. Two years into growing the Huffington Post at an "incredible" pace, she collapsed in her home office from exhaustion. The woman who had been chosen one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People had broken her cheekbone.

"As I was going from doctor to doctor, trying to find out what was wrong with me, I really had a great opportunity to reflect on my life and how I was living my life," she says.

Questions she asked herself included, "What is success?" She, of course, had money and power -- our culture's two most recognized markers. But her collapse, caused by sleep deprivation and 18-hour days, told her she was not living a successful life by any "sane definition."

"This idea of success can work -- or appear to work -- in the short term," she says. "But over the long term, money and power by themselves are like a two-legged stool -- you can balance on them for a while, but eventually you're going to topple over. And more and more people -- women and men -- are toppling over."

She began adopting daily practices to lead a more balanced life. Her "keystone" habit was to get eight hours of sleep a night and to reject the "collective delusion" that burnout and multitasking are "an express elevator to the top." She quotes President Bill Clinton as one of those successful, powerful people who admits that sleep loss led to costly mistakes. He used to boast about only needing five hours of sleep a night before he realized: "Every important mistake I've made in my life, I've made because I was too tired."

She also calls sleep deprivation a feminist issue. Women are more sleep deprived than men, according to national surveys, and many don't want to sacrifice health and well-being to get to the top.

"For far too long, our male-dominated model of success has equated success with working around the clock, driving yourself into the ground, sleep deprivation and burnout," she says. "When women lead the way to change that, women and men alike will see the benefits."

Her other prescriptions for a more mindful, fulfilling life include letting go of negative self-talk, making gratitude lists, practicing self-forgiveness and practicing those proverbial random acts of kindness.

Where Huffington ventures into advice that some might say runs counter to her own professional success is when she urges people to disconnect from the digital world as much as possible and for workplaces to care less about metrics and more about preventing employee burnout.

Constantly checking email or conversing day and night via text and Twitter reduces our ability to focus or to connect in meaningful ways with other people, she says. She encourages her employees to unplug when they are off the clock.

"At the Huffington Post, we effectively say that when people are done with their day, they are done," she says. "That makes such a difference, and more and more companies are doing that."

She also notes that 35 percent of large and midsize companies have some sort of stress-reduction program, including HuffPost, "where we have two nap rooms, which I'm happy to say are now always booked. "

She says businesses that care more about employees' mental and physical health -- instead of obsessing over quarterly earnings -- will do better in the long run with workers who are more productive, engaged and creative.

"More and more companies are recognizing that what's good for us as individuals is also good for business -- that the health of employees and the bottom-line are inseparable."

CONFERENCE
"Standing Together, Rising Above," Professional BusinessWomen of California 25th Annual Conference
When: May 13
Where: Moscone
Center West, San Francisco
Tickets: $379, 877-253-8921, http://pbwcconference.org