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Mindfulness Over Perfection: Selena Gomez Takes the SXSW Stage to Talk about Mental Health

In the lively setting of the Austin Convention Center at South by Southwest, a transformative mental health panel, headlined by global icon Selena Gomez, unfolded.

Titled “Mindfulness Over Perfection: Getting Real On Mental Health,” the discussion resonated as the panelists explored the importance of flexibility in mental healthcare, confronting negative self-talk, and embracing vulnerability.

Gomez, one of the most globally and culturally celebrated artist, actor, producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist of her generation, was joined by her mom, Mandy Teefey, co-founder and CEO of Wondermind, the world’s first mental fitness ecosystem launched to democratize and de-stigmatize mental health.

Also on the panel were Solomon Thomas, an NFL Defensive Lineman who uses his platform to advocate for Mental Health, and Dr. Corey Yeager, researcher, psychotherapist and author of, “How Am I Doing: 40 Conversations To Have With Yourself”.

The panelists, renowned in their respective fields, collectively conveyed the significance of sharing both the triumphs and tribulations of life.

Gomez, recounted the liberating experience of releasing a documentary about her life, shedding the confines of perfection and embracing authenticity.

“I released a documentary and I was terrified to do it. And I went back and forth on whether I’d do it or not. And I think the moment I did that, I felt this insane amount of release because there wasn’t any hiding anymore. There wasn’t just this image that people could see and think, oh, it looks nice. And it was probably one of the hardest moments of my life. So I would say it’s helped release a lot of anxiety of keeping it in, just to let people know I’m having a hard day or I just need a minute,” Gomez said.

Thomas also provided a unique perspective on authenticity and connection.

“Being able to get to the strength and get to the place where I can talk about my emotions and open up about these things, it’s truly impacted and changed my life in, in the biggest way. I feel like I can live an authentic life now. I feel like I can be myself unapologetically. Like I’ve done the work and I’ve learned about who I am and learned about how I react in certain situations, how I handle my anxiety, what I need to do to fix that, what I need to do to live with my depression,” Thomas said, stressing the importance of self-reflecting and finding these things out. 

Thomas also stressed the simplicity of maintaining mental health, dispelling the myth that it requires monumental efforts. From adequate sleep to spending time in nature, he emphasized the significance of everyday actions in nurturing one’s well-being.

Teefy, also shared a personal revelation about negative self-talk, urging individuals to adopt a rule of kindness in their internal dialogues. Her insights underscored the importance of self-compassion in the journey towards mental wellness.

“I’ve always spoken negatively to myself and I had to relearn the rules. If I wouldn’t say it to my best friend, I’m not allowed to say it to myself,” Teefy stated.

As CEO of Wondermind, Teefy urges their community to reach out, to continue to share their stories so that the company’s ecosystem can grow and can have greater reach to help more people with their mental health journey.

This profound conversation unfolded within the broader context of SXSW, a cultural juggernaut that in 2023 attracted over 220,000 registrants. The economic impact on the Austin economy totaled a staggering $380.9 million, underscoring the festival’s significance. SXSW remains a beacon for thought-leaders across industries, providing a unique space for sharing ideas on a broad range of topics.

To gain deeper insights into this pivotal conversation, the full panel discussion is available on the official Wondermind YouTube channel.

Jovanka Palacios
Jovanka Palacios
Jovanka Palacios, a Mexican-American Politics Reporter and Managing Editor at RA's Gun Violence Watch, unveils the Capitol's inner workings. Focused on Public Education and Gun Policies, she passionately advocates for informed dialogue, delivering concise, impactful insights into the intricate political landscape.


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