Shawn Mendes talks about how meditation has changed his life for the better
When Shawn Mendes took a break from his relentless schedule in 2019 following the release of his third Grammy-nominated album, he found a rare moment to reflect in the UK. While his girlfriend Camila Cabello worked in the studio every day, she recommended that he download the “Calm” app to help Shawn Mendes through a difficult phase in his life.
“I had sat down a few times and meditated on YouTube, but it wasn’t until about two and a half years ago, when I was going through a really hard time and had a lot of fears, that I started meditating regularly,” says Shawn Mendes. After 30 days of guided meditations with Jeff Warren, one of the app’s most popular trainers, Shawn Mendes was addicted. “It took me from a place of fear and anxiety to a place where I realized that you can’t achieve anything if you don’t start with compassion for yourself,” says the singer.
Shawn Mendes starts series for “Calm”
Now, two years later, Shawn Mendes is not only launching his own series with girlfriend Camila Cabello for “Calm” – titled “Breathe Into It,” the two will immerse themselves in their experiences of overcoming fears and building self-love and gratitude for 24 sessions – but is also announcing a multi-year partnership that will provide thousands of free memberships for youth activists and executives through the Movement Voter Fund and the Shawn Mendes Foundation. For Shawn Mendes, this is an opportunity not only to destigmatize and keep the mental health conversation going, but also to give back.
Shawn Mendes x Calm in the video
“Many children cannot afford membership. I hope that when we provide them with the app for a year, they can decide whether they want to continue with it or not,” the singer explains. “People are willing to try something out if it’s made available to them, so I hope we can push this project further and award more and more memberships. For me, it’s about leading more people towards self-healing and wellness.”
Shawn Mendes in vogue interview about meditation and mental health
Shawn Mendes spoke to VOGUE about his path to better mental health, the importance of “pay it forward”, and the surprising benefits of meditation in terms of his relationship with Camila Cabello.
VOGUE: When you started thinking about the stories you wanted to share in your series for Calm, what aspects were particularly important to you?
Shawn Mendes: I definitely felt that it was important to share my inner struggle, which was taking place even during the highest peaks of my career. I don’t think a lot of people know what’s going on in an artist’s head when he’s on stage at the Grammys, for example. I wanted to tell you that I was totally insecure. Also, I wanted people to know how meditation helped me figure out why I wanted to do this profession.
What excites you most about “Calm” as a platform?
The cool thing about “Calm” is that it’s really designed for everyone. People who have just started meditating, people who have not meditated for a while, people who have been meditating for a long time. You will immediately find the right teacher for you, because there are so many different styles of meditation offered. For me, it’s a very personal thing. You’re basically just sitting there and someone whispering something in your ear, so you really have to make sure you’re swinging with that person. Especially if you are just starting to meditate, “Calm” is great, because it is very easy to find something that works for you personally.
You have always spoken very openly about your fears. Where do you stand on this path right now, especially in the face of the difficult last year?
I’m still working on that every day. Sometimes I’m fine for a week or two, I have everything under control, my routine is going great. And then, just last week, I had days when it felt like my whole world was collapsing. Nothing external has changed so much, there’s a thing in me. And the most important thing I mean at this pointThe journey has learned is that you just have to let yourself be human and let those feelings out. Just as you might try to be perfect to ward off fear, you can become obsessed with meditation and feel like I always have to have life under control now because I meditate. But this is not true. I think even the most relaxed people have their moments of restlessness. That’s just part of the journey, you know?
You mentioned that it was Camila who made you familiar with “Calm” and she is also involved in the project. Do you think mindfulness is an important part of a healthy relationship?
If we hadn’t discovered meditation for ourselves, our relationship probably wouldn’t have lasted. It allows me to become aware of myself if, for example, I don’t listen properly or Camila only answers because I want to be right in a conversation. Meditating allows me to question myself and say, “Hey, you know, that’s how you treat me right now.” Without meditation, I would probably just contradict her instead of consciously experiencing the situation and then realizing, “Oh, you know what, that’s true. That’s how I treated you.” I think that mindfulness and meditation in many ways have contributed to our relationship becoming a place of honesty and love and never getting too out of hand. We are not perfect, and we have our quarrels as in any relationship, but it never goes deeper than that because we are aware enough to know when our ego interferes.
Is it particularly fulfilling for you to use your platform as a musician to promote things that are close to your heart?
That’s the best feeling in the world! It’s probably one of the reasons why I find it so important to keep making music. Being able to have this platform and do things like working with “Calm” is magical, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I feel responsible for being a kind of role model, but at the same time I also feel responsible for being human and making mistakes and showing the more chaotic sides of me on stage so that everyone can see them. That teaches you so much more than trying to be perfect.
This article originally appeared on Vogue.com