Headspace is teaming up with England footballer Raheem Sterling as our Global Ambassador — a role that will see him raise awareness around the importance of being kind to your mind.
As a professional footballer, he’s used to finding yards of space on the pitch. As a parent and a private individual, he also makes sure to find space for his mind in everyday life.
As our Global Ambassador, Raheem will work to break down stigmas around mental health, increase education around the value of meditation, and provide tools to support young minds. Together with his 1692 Foundation, and because we recognise the lasting effect teachers have on young people’s lives, we are kicking off our partnership by promoting the 'Headspace for Educators’ initiative — to ensure that people in this sector have the tools to train and educate the next generation about the importance of mindfulness, in the classroom and beyond.
Raheem is passionate about championing, challenging, and changing conversations around mental health, especially among young people. As a regular meditator, he says: “If you need to be on top of your game, whatever the career path, then meditation and mindfulness help to manage the stresses that come with the grind of daily life.”
He knows the focus required when under intense pressure come match day. He knows what has been needed, mentally, to overcome racial abuse. And he knows what it means to achieve the dream of playing professional football and representing his country.
– Raheem Sterling
“Many young people find it hard to talk about their mental health status, for fear of being seen as weak or vulnerable. Being open and discussing mental health is the first step to prioritising it,” he says.
“There comes a point in time where you have to actually take care of yourself — take care of how you feel. You have to make sure your mindset, and how you’re thinking, is good as well.”
Raheem is committed to making his mental health a priority and, over the coming months, he’ll share how living more mindfully has benefited him. “As a young father of three, and playing at an international level, there are intense pressures and it’s sometimes hard to switch off — that’s why I meditate, to aid my intense training regime.”
He integrated meditation into his training regime ahead of the UEFA European Championship 2020 — played this past summer — when he was widely acknowledged as England’s stand-out player. He credits meditation for allowing him to be mentally sharper, more present as a parent, a more sound sleeper, and better equipped to navigate whatever life throws his way.
He now wants to create tangible change by helping young people to live more fulfilled lives. “I wish I could tell my younger self that all it takes is your breath, a little focus, and an appreciation of being in the present. Your mental health is your most important asset, and Headspace can be a great teacher to help you manage it.”
Raheem and Headspace will demonstrate how meditation not only supports general mental well-being, but can also have an impact on performance — increasing productivity and focus, and setting up anyone and everyone to manage life better. Welcome to the team, Raheem!