OK! (UK)




She may appear to be one of the most confident women on television but Maya Jama says most of the time she feels like a quivering wreck. ‘I’m a super anxious person,’ Maya says. ‘It’s just feeling overwhelme­d and sweaty and sick. All of those nervous feelings. You know that feeling like you’re on a plane and your belly drops and then it just doesn’t go away? It’s like that feeling all day – like you’re really nervous but everything is fine. You feel physically sick and you can’t eat.’

Surprising­ly for someone who performs in front of huge crowds on a regular basis, global megastar Ed Sheeran feels the same way. He recently revealed he feels panicky every day, saying: ‘It creeps up on you. I’ve been working on it for eight years and I closed off from reality. Whether it’s getting rid of your phone or only looking at emails twice a day. Or cutting down my friendship group to the bare minimum just so I can trust everyone.’ He adds: ‘I have social anxiety. I don’t like large groups of people, which is ironic given I play shows to thousands of people. I feel claustroph­obic and I don’t like being around many people.’

Others who have battled anxiety despite their stardom include actress Emma Stone and singer Ellie Goulding.


According to psychother­apist and counsellor Natalie Hawkins, a certain level of anxiety can be helpful to us. She tells OK!: ‘It’s important to remember that anxiety can have a purpose – it’s a normal, healthy human emotion. It’s part of our inbuilt fight or flight response, which protects us from danger and allows us to respond quickly to emergencie­s.’

Dr Soumitra Burman-roy, a consultant psychiatri­st, says the majority of people he sees have had symptoms of anxiety at some point in their life – but that doesn’t necessaril­y mean they need to seek help. He explains: ‘Many episodes of panic are isolated and in the context of a specific situation. Just because you’ve had one once, or even a few times, doesn’t mean it’s going to become a long-term problem requiring a long-term solution.’ So how much anxiety is too much? Dr Soumitra explains: ‘It can be a motivating emotion, but when it gets so extreme as to limit your ability to function, then we would no longer consider it helpful.’

Current estimates say around ten per cent of us will have at least one panic attack during our lifetime. Here, Dr Soumitra and Natalie offer some helpful tips on how to manage such an attack if and when it strikes…

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 ??  ?? Above: The ‘super anxious’ Maya Jama. Right: Emma Stone has struggled with anxiety. Below: Breathing exercises can help
Above: The ‘super anxious’ Maya Jama. Right: Emma Stone has struggled with anxiety. Below: Breathing exercises can help

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