Shawn Mendes On How Meditation Helped His Anxiety And Relationship - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Shawn Mendes On How Meditation Helped His Anxiety And Relationship

“It took me from a place of fear and anxiety to a place where I realised you can’t get anywhere if you don’t start with compassion for yourself.”

With the kind of global career that makes any public outing one of paparazzi shots and clambering fans, finding calm in the every day is a difficult task for Shawn Mendes. If his career didn’t already make such things impossible, his relationship with chart-topping singer Camila Cabello only put a bigger spotlight on the young singer, with fans lusting for every photo of the pair. But as Mendes recently revealed in an interview with Vogue, it was actually Cabello who helped the star find peace, suggesting he download the Calm app as a means of reflecting and working on his mental health. 

Mendes told the publication, “I had definitely sat down a couple of times and done a meditation on YouTube, but it really wasn’t until about two and a half years ago, when I was going through a really tough time and had a lot of anxiety, that I started using it regularly.”

And so he began his meditation journey, undertaking 30 days of guided meditations with one of the app’s most popular instructors, Jeff Warren. It didn’t take long before Mendes was hooked. “It took me from a place of fear and anxiety to a place where I realised you can’t get anywhere if you don’t start with compassion for yourself,” he explained. 

Mendes not only transformed his anxiety through the app, but he also believes he strengthened his relationship. “If we didn’t have meditation and mindfulness in our lives, I don’t think our relationship would last, because it allows me to be aware of when I’m not listening, for example, or I’m just replying to [Camila] out of wanting to be right in a conversation,” he said. “I think that in so many ways, mindfulness and meditation have really helped our relationship to stay in a place of honesty and love and never get too out of control. We’re not perfect, and we have our arguments, like any relationship, but it never spins deeper than that, because we’re aware enough to know when our ego is getting involved.” 

Since finding peace through Calm, Mendes is now looking to spread awareness of the power of meditation. To do so, he’s partnered with the app to launch his own series, along with Cabello, titled “Breathe Into It.” Across 24 sessions, Mendes and Cabello will dive into their experiences in overcoming anxiety and building a sense of self-love and gratitude. The multi-year partnership with Calm will also see Mendes provide thousands of free memberships to youth activists and leaders through the Movement Voter Fund and Shawn Mendes Foundation. 

Aside from simply allowing others to benefit from the same guided meditation that Mendes had himself, the partnership is deeply important to the singer. For Mendes, it’s an opportunity to remove the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage people to start a conversation around it. “A lot of kids wouldn’t be able to afford a membership, so I hope that by giving them the tools for a year, they can decide whether to continue with it or not,” says Mendes. 

“People are willing to try something when it’s made accessible to them, so I’m hoping that we can just keep pushing this project forward, and keep giving away more memberships. It’s just being able to kickstart a couple of people’s journeys into self-healing and wellness.”

If you are one of the few who are yet to try Calm, the platform caters to everyone. You don’t need to be experienced in meditation to use it, even those who have never started meditation can benefit and learn the techniques required to make it a daily practice. As Mendes admits, meditation has had a profound impact, but it’s a daily journey and he recognises he will always be dealing with anxiety. “Sometimes I go a week or two and I’m feeling good, and I have control of everything, my routine is going great. And then even just within the last week, I’ve had days where it felt like my whole world was falling apart. Nothing external has changed that much, it’s just an internal thing. And the key thing I’m learning at this point in my journey is that you just have to let yourself be human, and to let those feelings spill out,” he explains. 

As Mendes adds, “In the same way you might keep trying to be perfect to stave off anxiety, you can get obsessed with meditation and feel like, I always have to have a grip on life now that I meditate. But it’s not true. I think even the most serene people have their moments of turmoil. It’s just part of the journey, you know?”

For more details on the Calm app, visit the website here. 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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