Since entering the celebrity jungle, singer-songwriter Boy George has been using Buddhism chanting as a form of meditation to ease feelings of anxiety. The technique has intrigued “I’m a Celebrity” viewers, with Google search volume up by 249% over the past week.
The Culture Club singer has spoken openly about how his belief in Buddhism has helped him to stay sober and clean of drugs. George battled an addiction to heroin and other substances for more than two decades, which resulted in multiple arrests and tabloid scandals.
Mike Delaney Clinical Director at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere has supported Boy George on his journey to sobriety and has shared his insight into how the artist has used techniques like chanting and meditation to stop him from relapsing.
“I have known Boy George for a considerable time and he has been in recovery from addictions for well over ten years now and is constantly working on his own personal development. He has practised Buddhism for many years and uses this daily, and he manages to integrate other tools such as Emotional Freedom Techniques EFT into his daily routines.
“As you can clearly see in the jungle, these techniques keep him grounded and calm, despite the many stresses of living in such an environment. He does not worry about what others think or feels about his strategies as he knows they work for him and is always willing to teach them to others who may be struggling with emotional issues/anxiety.
“Music and narcotics have a long, complex history, with drug use rampant in bands and amongst artists. Drug abuse defined the lifestyle of countless performers across all genres throughout the 80s and 90s, and the connection between stardom and addiction comes from the highly demanding schedules, feelings of loneliness and constant pressure to succeed.
“George experienced intense fame from an early age and with that comes an overwhelming sense of pressure. Fame and being constantly under the spotlight can be extremely difficult and can often create an extreme feeling of wanting to escape.
“When seeking escapism, some people make the connection between drugs or alcohol for a temporary feeling of relief. Unfortunately, this type of escape from reality for those who are struggling with mental health conditions like anxiety and depression can often be a slippery slope towards dependency, despite knowing the consequences that come with it.
“The consistent harsh scrutiny directed at George’s career and personal life also contributed to his addiction and mental health issues. The world was fixated on his flamboyant style and personality, but despite how successful he was at pushing gender boundaries in pop, in the early years many were violently hostile towards him.”
George suffered from intense panic attacks throughout the 90s at the height of his fame. As George has clearly demonstrated in the I’m a Celebrity Jungle, he has adapted a Buddhist chanting method that allows him to ease his feelings of anxiety and stress. The technique helps one’s concentration and helps to settle the mind to enter meditation.
Benefits of chanting
- Soothes and calms the mind. Chanting is about repetition. When the mantra is recited over and over again, our concentration is put solely on the mantra, whilst decreasing the focus placed on feelings of anxiety, nervousness and worry. This method helps to soothe, calm and focus the mind ready for meditation and helps to move to a place where anxiety isn’t present.
- Increases self-awareness. Chanting and mantra meditation allows you to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts and emotions fit with your values, passions and aspirations. This allows you to make healthier decisions, build stronger relationships and communicate more effectively with others surrounding you.
- Reduces feelings of stress. The meditation technique allows you to find a sense of calm, so you have the ability to face difficult and stressful situations with more clarity. Mantras can help to distract your mind from stressful and negative thoughts and create a more positive mindset.
- Creates a more positive outlook. Chanting can help you create more positive energy and keep your mood elevated throughout the day.