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.”
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.”