Exclusive: Meghann Fahy Talks Living With Anxiety and Shares the One Thing That Has 'Totally Changed' Her Life

In the last year, Meghann Fahy's star has grown brighter. While her original fans know her from The Bold Type, 33-year-old Fahy gained mainstream appeal in the fall when she appeared as Daphne, a materialistic stay-at-home mom with a twisted, complicated marriage in Season 2 of The White Lotus

While Fahy has a few other big career moves in the works, for the moment, she's working on a campaign with Astepro Allergies to promote their nasal spray, which promises to reduce allergy symptoms more quickly than other medications on the market.

“I always suffered from seasonal allergies and non-seasonal allergies, like an allergy to cats. It’s been tricky at certain points in my life, and Astepro came into the picture in a way that felt really natural and authentic to me," she tells Parade. "The thing that was most exciting to me was that it works in 30 minutes, and most of the stuff out there right now takes 24 hours or longer. It’s steroid-free as well, so it really changes the whole experience of seasonal allergies."

Aside from allergies and acting, another topic Fahy is passionate about is mental health—particularly when it comes to being open and honest about her lifelong struggle with anxiety.

Acknowledgment and Acceptance of Anxiety

Fahy has struggled with anxiety since she was a kid—but she didn't have the words to label it as such at that time. "In retrospect, thanks to a lot of therapy, I recognize that's what it was," she tells Parade. "Acting is a pretty anxiety-inducing career generally. There’s a lot of uncertainty and there’s a lot of constant change, and you’re having to adapt all the time. You’re often living in places that are unfamiliar with people who are unfamiliar."

What's helped her the most, she says, is simply accepting that she's anxious instead of trying to fight it. "If you can accept the circumstances of your situation, you can reduce suffering," she says. "We create a lot of suffering for ourselves when we resist acceptance of circumstance. Acknowledging your feelings is a huge piece of the puzzle. Saying, 'I’m feeling anxious. Anxiety is a feeling. Anxiety is not me, it’s a feeling that I’m experiencing' [really helps]."

Related: This Is the #1 Worst Habit for Anxiety

Coping in Tough Mental Health Moments

Of course, difficult health moments still arise for Fahy. When that happens, she turns to The Calm app, one of the most popular meditation apps out there. "The Calm App has all these meditations, and some are like a minute long," she says. "They have breathing exercises that are specific to anxiety. It only takes a couple of minutes to bring yourself back to your breath and get yourself back in your body and feel yourself in space and time."

If she doesn't have access to her app in an anxious moment, Fahy works on breathing, going inward and reminding herself that she has two feet on the ground and can handle whatever she's going through.

Related: 75 Ways to Calm Anxiety, According to Therapists 

The Importance of Therapy

According to a Gallup poll, the number of people seeking treatment for mental health issues has doubled in the past 20 years. No one could be happier about the decrease in stigma around therapy than Fahy, who says therapy has changed her life.

"I started going to therapy when I was 20, so it’s been over a decade. I’ve been in and out and switched around a bit based on where I’m living, but it’s totally changed my life," she says. "It’s changed the way I interact with other people, my friendships and my romantic relationships."

She's even convinced her family members to try therapy. "I speak so highly of the impact it has on my life that I want my family members to experience it as well," she says. "I’m always encouraging the people I love to take a chance and open themselves up and give it a try. 10 or 15 years ago, there might have been a more societally-imposed shame that people felt. I’m so happy the conversation is evolving in a different direction and that more people are getting into it."

Related: 101 Anxiety Quotes to Help You Heal and Cope

What Mental Health Maintenance Looks Like for Fahy

While breathing exercises help, Fahy says that in addition to meditation and talk therapy, the top way she maintains her mental health is through exercise.

"Exercise decreases my anxiety in a way I find nothing else really does," she says. "I really feel like moving my body does wonders, even if it’s just a long walk. I do some of my best thinking when I’m walking and listening to music. It’s something I find really helpful."

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