Ellie Goulding Explains Why She Suffered Panic Attacks

The star shares how she learned to manage her anxiety.

By Hayden Wright

When Ellie Goulding burst onto the pop scene, crippling anxiety threatened to derail her ascent. Goulding opened up to Well + Good about her struggle to overcome panic attacks, and how fitness helped her find balance and serenity. At the beginning, it wasn’t pretty.

“My new life as a pop star certainly wasn’t as glamorous as all my friends from home thought,” she said. “Secretly, I was really struggling physically and emotionally.”

Related: Ellie Goulding Shares New Video for ‘Still Falling For You’

Goulding describes a kind of imposter syndrome that kept her from feeling confident as a performer.

“I think part of what sparked my panic attacks was not feeling confident enough to believe in myself—I was scared I wasn’t as good of a singer as everyone thought I was. And as the stakes grew, I was afraid of letting everyone, including myself, down.”

Those fears gave way to revelations.

“Last year, I was asked to perform at the Grammys—a massive honour but, as you can imagine, pretty nerve-wracking,” she recalled. “In the moments before I walked on that stage, I gave myself a good talking-to. I was annoyed for being paralysed with nerves every time I was about to perform on television. I told myself that this was exactly where I was supposed to be and if other people believed in me, I had to start believing in myself.”

One of Goulding’s favorite self-care tools is exercise: She described how breaking a sweat helped improve her mood and steady her nerves in day-to-day life.

“But there was another way I found inner confidence: boxing and kickboxing. I love that extra kick of adrenaline. Keeping fit doesn’t mean spending hours at a gym; the key is to find a workout you really love.”

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