Zayn Malik on Getting Through His Anxiety: ‘Just Be Straight Up’

Zayn Malik
Zayn Malik arrives for Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures' premiere of "Straight Outta Compton" on August 10, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

As Zayn Malik navigates living with anxiety, he has learned that open communication with others is the key to his day-to-day routine. “Just being straight up. Just being honest about everything, explaining what it is that makes you feel uncomfortable, what it is that you’re cool with,” the singer, 24, told Us Weekly exclusively. “And making sure that all of that is in order and everyone’s got a clear understanding of what that is.”

Malik added that publicly coming forward about his struggles has only benefited him. “I feel like it was only a positive impact on everything that happened after it and people now have a better perspective on where I was coming from at the time and just an understanding that it wasn’t coming from necessarily being ungrateful, shall we say, or not aware of the opportunities that were in front of me, it was just me struggling with being able to actually be there,” he told Us. “I’m definitely glad I got that off my chest, as anybody is when you feel like you’re keeping something from someone you have to speak about it and clear up the air.”

The Zayn author, who opened up about his struggles with anxiety in the 2016 autobiography, has been especially blown away by the support from fans and strangers alike. “My fans are always supportive of anything I did. They’re amazing people and they’re always behind me,” the “Pillow Talk” crooner continued. “But the crazy thing for me was, the thing people that I didn’t expect to speak to me about that spoke to me about it, random people, like older people that had read the book, and they were like ‘I really respect you speaking about that, it takes a lot of strength and a lot of confidence in yourself to be able to just be like ‘this is what it is, this is how it was, this is how I’m feeling,’ and that was really cool to get that reaction because I didn’t necessarily do it for that reason. I just did it because I felt like I needed to do it. So when you get a nice reaction in return it’s like a bonus, it’s a cool feeling.”

Despite the constant attention on his professional and personal life, Malik feels comfortable in the spotlight with girlfriend of nearly two years, Gigi Hadid. “We try not to think about it too much. There are a lot of people who are too busy in other people’s lives. I just concentrate on my relationship and try to do right by my girlfriend and she does by me, and we hope for the best,” he told Us. “As we all do!”

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