Shawn Mendes on How Meditation Has Transformed His Relationship

Good News Notes:

Back in 2019, during some downtime from his relentless schedule after releasing his chart-topping, Grammy-nominated third album, Shawn Mendes found himself in the U.K. with a rare moment to reflect. While his girlfriend, the similarly chart-topping Camila Cabello, was working in the studio every day, she recommended he download the Calm app as a means of helping Mendes through a rocky period with his mental health. 

“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,” says Mendes. After undertaking 30 days of guided meditations with one of the app’s most popular instructors, Jeff Warren, Mendes was hooked. “It took me from a place of fear and anxiety to a place where I realized you can’t get anywhere if you don’t start with compassion for yourself,” he adds.

Now, two years later, Mendes is launching not just his own series along with Cabello for Calm—titled “Breathe Into It,” these 24 sessions dive into their experiences in overcoming anxiety and building a sense of self-love and gratitude—but is also announcing a multi-year partnership that will provide thousands of free memberships to youth activists and leaders through the Movement Voter Fund and the Shawn Mendes Foundation. For Mendes, it’s an opportunity not just to destigmatize the conversation around mental health, but also to give back. 

“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,” Mendes explains. “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.”

Here, Mendes tells Vogue about his mental health journey, the importance of paying it forward, and the surprising benefits of meditation in his relationship with Cabello.

Vogue: When you first started thinking about the stories you wanted to share in your series, were there any aspects of your journey that felt especially important? 

Shawn Mendes: I definitely felt it was important to share the internal struggle that was happening even during the highest peaks of my career. I don’t think many people know what’s going on in an artist’s mind when they step on stage at the Grammys, for example, but I wanted to share that for me it was complete insecurity. How meditation really helped me find my reason for wanting to do this for a living was really important to share also.

What is it about Calm as a platform that you were drawn to? 

I think the cool thing is that Calm was created for everyone. People who have just started meditating, people who haven’t meditated in a while, people who have meditated for a long time. You can go on there and find the right teacher for you, as there are so many different styles. It’s a very personal thing. You’re basically just sitting there with someone whispering in your ear, so you’ve really got to make sure you vibe with that person. I think that’s really helpful when you first start meditating, because with Calm you can find something that works for you really easily….”

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