Big E Discusses Mental Health, How Meditation Has Helped Him

Mental health in wrestling has become a bigger topic in wrestling as wrestlers open up about how they take care of themselves while dealing with the pressures of being a star on television.

As the WWE Champion and one of the faces of WWE Raw, Big E is dealing with the most pressure he's ever faced and he is at the forefront of opening up about his mental health and how he takes care of himself.

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Speaking on MackMania, Big E opened up about his mental health.

"It took me a long, long time. I try my best to never tell anyone, 'this is the way you need to go to overcome mental illness.' We all have our own paths and what works for us. What worked for me; at 19 years old, I had a coach of mine, Rod Akin, who essentially forced me to go talk to someone. In many ways, it really saved my life. Even then, it took a while for me to get into the process. I think so much of how I was raised and just kind of the culture of what it meant to be a man. I always played football and was in the gym. What I was always told from peers and in the home, it was, 'a man does not show vulnerability. You don't cry, you don't show weakness, you don't talk about the way you feel or your emotions.' Maybe that's a protective device that allows you to get to a certain point in life without getting picked on too much and you build up these walls, but eventually it's going to explode. It got to that point with me where it was 'repress, repress, repress,' but it's not going anywhere. What has really helped me is just kind of leaning into the work. I was really opposed to this idea of 'working' people tell me in a relationship you have to work or you have to work on yourself. Who wants to do all that? To me, the work is really beautiful," he said.

Big E continued by explained how he takes care of his mental health by saying, "The thing that I've leaned into lately is meditation. I might spend roughly 12 minutes a day meditating. It's not a massive ask, but just committing myself to a daily spiritual practice has helped me immensely. That's the big, just being regulated. Even when you don't feel down and when life is great and everything is going incredibly, just being consistent. The same way you train your body and commit this time to your body, your mind is what governs you and is so key and we often neglect that. I've gotten to this point and now, for the first time, I see the growth and the difference in the way I respond to things and the way I just process emotions. It's helped me tremendously. As far as advice, I've also built a network of friends who are committed to grow. That's what I love too, being around people who want to grow and want to learn more, whether it's mediation or simple things, even if mediation is not your bag, just going on a walk."

He closed by saying, "I would really suggest for anyone to just find what it is. For some people it's journaling, it's shadow work. I love that now that the discussion of mental health is becoming more mainstream, that stigma is being slowly chipped away. I'm on Instagram way too much and what I love is that there are so many accounts committed to other aspects of mental health. Having these communities where people can talk about what they've been through and unpacking childhood trauma and that to me is so dope that we can be open to say, 'Hey, I've been through all these things' and you don't have to live with that sense of deep shame, which I think I did for a long time, just feeling shame for my depression, mental health, being on medication, SSRIs, being in a psych ward, these are things that terrified me if anyone ever knew, but people able to tell my story, every time I tell my story, I'm able to chip away at that feeling inside of shame and I feel more free. It's something I really love talking about because it's important for all of us, whether you've been through serious mental illness or you just have some slight issues with anxiety. There are varying degrees of struggling, but we all benefit from unpacking our trauma, talking to someone, and it helps to know you're not alone."

Big E also mentioned that it's been easier to open up thanks to NBA players like DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love being open regarding their mental health.

Tag Me In has helped wrestlers and fans be more open about mental health, raising over $45,000 for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. You can learn more by clicking here.

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