Arts and Entertainment

MENTAL HEALTH TIPS FOR ACTORS

Actors are placed on a metaphorical pedestal. They are portrayed as flawless creatures, role models, a yardstick by which the rest of the population is measured. Needless to say, these are highly inaccurate and unrealistic notions. But thanks to pop culture, actors often crumble under the burden of appearing picture-perfect.

Critics tend to make headlines out of the slightest cracks in their persona and the word spreads quickly. This is only the tip of an iceberg of challenges that they face. Here are some routine problems that they are presented with and some suggestions on how to tackle them. 

●      MANAGING PERFORMANCE ANXIETY 

A small degree of anxiety before an audition is normal, even helpful as it motivates you to prepare well. Giving yourself a quick pep talk before going on stage has proven beneficial.

Practice your roles in front of a mirror at home. Trust your talent and don’t give in to self-doubt. Yes, you are uncertain about bagging the role but do put your 100% and you will have satisfied yourself. 

●      DELEGATING ROUTINE TASKS

As an actor, you are probably going to be super busy with auditions, practice, and acting gigs. It is wise to appoint a person to handle the day-to-day tasks that keep you from doing the real work, acting.

Booking auditions, setting appointments, and planning your calendar are some of them. Do not shy away from bringing an assistant on board. They can help you optimize your schedule hence giving you more time to practice your art.

●      KEEP JEALOUSY AT BAY

It is easy to give in to jealousy when you see someone doing better than you professionally. Envy truly is the thief of joy. The key to avoiding this is to stop comparing. Understand that every actor has had their own journey.

They have surmounted their share of obstacles. Their story in no way correlates to yours. You are here to make your own footprints. You can put a positive spin by cherry-picking the things you find they are good at and then learning from them. 

●      FACING REJECTION

It seems obvious that as an actor, you get rejected more than you are selected. And that is absolutely fair. Imagine being shortlisted for every role you have ever auditioned for! It is simply impossible.

Learn to integrate rejection into your professional growth. View it as just a rung on your ladder of success. Understand that your professional accomplishments do not decide your personal worth. Rejection brings with it a palette of lessons. Your job is to use them to paint your life with vibrant colours. 

●      REVISIT YOUR PURPOSE

If you think you are always going to be at the top of your game, it is likely that you will be disappointed. Nobody can be at their best all the time, not even the ‘pros’. There are going to be days when you feel gloomy and totally out of sync.

Days where you question why you are even in the industry. On these days, it will do you some good to revisit the reasons why you are doing what you are doing. Self-awareness truly paves the road to mental peace. Feel free go into your shell every once in a while, but remember to emerge stronger.

●      DEALING WITH EMOTIONAL HANGOVER

Richard Gere coined the term ‘emotional hangover’ to refer to days following an emotionally taxing performance. Dr. Mark Seton has called this ‘Post-dramatic stress’. Actors are creative individuals. It is a part of their job to be vulnerable and emotionally available.

This is an open invitation to several mental issues. To curb this, practice regular cool-down techniques after big performances. Take a little break. Go out with friends for a drink. All this will help you get down from the ‘emotional high’. 

●      HANDLING FINANCIAL INSTABILITY

Actors are known to be stuck in audition circuits for long periods. If you are in this phase, chances are you are juggling a minimally paying job with auditions and even acting classes.

And money pays bills, not dreams. So it is crucial that you get a hold of your finances, especially now that the economy is on a see-saw. Saving up is one option. Getting a more stable side job in between gigs is another. 

●      SEEKING A THERAPIST/LIFE COACH

As actors, you are constantly in the eye of the storm. Your lifestyle can drain you mentally and emotionally. Losing touch with reality becomes compelling. The need for a safe haven becomes paramount.

If you feel incapable of dealing with your issues on your own and your coping mechanisms are failing you, it might be time to seek a professional. They can help you through issues smoothly. Your personal and professional growth is catalyzed. Having a mentor is profoundly beneficial. 

●      EXPAND YOUR TALENT

We know how cutthroat the competition can get in the film industry. If you are not the best actor, you might get tossed aside for a better candidate. It is necessary that you keep honing your talent. Polish your abilities by signing up for theatre or online acting courses.

Try to catch up with your colleagues. Do not critique them, just observe and learn. Keep watching more and more movies to continue learning even at home. Have role models to look up to.

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