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Shawn Mendes, 22, is a Canadian singer who has released three studio albums, headlined three world tours and received numerous awards. However, behind his accolades and success lies a young man struggling with a mental condition which millions can relate to.
The singer spoke of his struggle with anxiety, a condition which no one seems to have an exact answer as to why it is so common.
However, many have attributed this presumed increase in anxiety disorders to factors such as social media, poor sleep habits, lowered stigma, and underreporting in the past.
Shawn spoke of his health battle with PEOPLE magazine and said: “Talking about the problem, putting it out there, was one of the scariest but most important things I’ve ever done.
“Just doing that helped me the most.
“I still struggle with it but just remember every day that everyone deals with some level of anxiety or pressure; we’re all in it together.”
The Mayo Clinic listed the symptoms of anxiety which include:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
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In an interview with The Sun, the singer-songwriter revealed that he’s found that therapy has helped tremendously with his anxiety.
However, he was quick to explain that “therapy,” to him, doesn’t have just one definition.
“Therapy is what works for you it could be climbing a mountain,” he explained.
“Therapy is listening to music and running on the treadmill, therapy is going to dinner with your friends — it’s something that distracts you, that helps you heal and so it just depends on what you think therapy is.”
In other words, whatever makes you feel good and is good for you is therapy, and there’s no right or wrong way to define it for yourself.
“I made a conscious effort to be more connected to the people in my life,” the singer added.
“I found I was closing myself off from everybody, thinking that would help me battle it and then realizing the only way I was going to battle it was completely opening up and letting people in.
“People forget how important it is to talk to your family and to talk to your friends about what’s going on in your life, because the more you tell people how you feel, the more you understand how you feel and you have more control of your emotions.”
There are various evidence-based treatments that have been found to help with anxiety problems.
One Mind recommends taking treatments. The charity explains: “There are two types of talking treatment recommended for anxiety and panic.
“Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – this focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour, and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems.
“Applied relaxation therapy – this involves learning how to relax your muscles in situations where you normally experience anxiety.”
If anxiety is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, speak to your GP.
For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.
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