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Shirley Ballas reveals secret struggle with anxiety - and the things she does to cope

The Strictly Come Dancing judge shared her tips to improve mental health

Chloe Best
Lifestyle Features Editor
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Shirley Ballas has revealed she struggles with anxiety that previously left her struggling to function. The Strictly Come Dancing judge admitted she had also been overwhelmed with nerves after joining the hit BBC show in 2017 in a candid interview with Top Sante.

"I've had anxiety in the past and two years ago I wasn't in a great place. Without a stable mind, it's difficult for anything else to function," Shirley confided, before revealing the one thing she does to ease her anxiety. "I meditate and take time for controlled breathing. This was especially useful when I started Strictly - my first TV job."

strictly judges 2017 1© Photo: BBC

Shirley Ballas admitted feeling anxious when she started her job on Strictly

Shirley advocates speaking openly about mental health after her brother David Rich took his own life in 2003. Sharing her tips with the publication, Shirley explained: "People get embarrassed about admitting they feel low but you can't help the way you feel. Which is why exercise, taking vitamins and having time out for meditation are so important."

STORY: Shirley Ballas shares heartbreak over brother's tragic death

Anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder is estimated to affect up to five per cent of the UK population, with symptoms said to include feeling restless or worried, having trouble concentrating or sleeping and dizziness or heart palpitations. Treatment can include psychological therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, or medication, however lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, cutting down on alcohol and caffeine, and meditation have also been found to help reduce anxiety.

Shirley Ballas theatre© Photo: Getty Images

Shirley has now find ways to manage her anxiety

Shirley is not the only star to speak out about her mental health struggles; Fearne Cotton has been open about her own experiences of anxiety and panic attacks, while Frankie Bridge said becoming a mother helped to lessen her own depression and anxiety. "I don't worry so much about myself; I have my kids and husband to think about," she told The Telegraph. "I'm a lot more relaxed than everyone thought I'd be. I have control of it now, rather than it having control of me."

GALLERY: Celebrities who have opened up about mental health

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