Strictly Come Dancing's Shirley Ballas Opens Up About Dealing With Anxiety

She reveals she used meditation to help her when she joined the BBC ballroom show.

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ judge Shirley Ballas has opened up about suffering with anxiety, revealing she was “not in a great place” just two years ago.

The Latin expert, who joined the panel of the BBC ballroom show last year, also admitted to being “as nervous as the celebrities” after she replaced Len Goodman on the BBC dance show.

Shirley Ballas has revealed she suffered with anxiety
Shirley Ballas has revealed she suffered with anxiety
David M. Benett via Getty Images

Speaking to Top Santé magazine, Shirley said: “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.

“I meditate and take time for controlled breathing.

“This was especially useful when I started ‘Strictly’ – my first TV job. I was as nervous as the celebrities,” she 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.”

Shirley joined 'Strictly Come Dancing' as head judge last year
Shirley joined 'Strictly Come Dancing' as head judge last year

This is not the first time Shirley has got candid on the topic of mental health.

Last year, she opened up about her brother’s suicide, who took his own life in 2003 having suffered with depression.

Speaking on an episode of ‘Loose Women’, Shirley said: “It was a short spell. He had this six weeks of being really down, not really feeling himself.

“My mother was with him. It was one day when my son was singing in St Paul’s Church. I spoke to David on the phone.

“My mother, I love her to death, but it’s not an over-communicative family. I don’t think I ever really understood to the great extent how sick he was. I don’t think my mum did either.

“She came to watch Mark at the church singing, it was that particular day he chose to take his life.”

Useful websites and helplines:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email:

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