We always pay attention when celebrities take to the floor to share their stories of anxiety. Though we watch the likes of Emma Stone or Ireland’s Bressie grace our movie and TV screens and walk the world’s red carpets as though it doesn’t knock a feather out of them, in reality they’re as porous as the rest of us when it comes to such fears and struggles. In fact given the pressure of the public eye, you could probably take the anxiety of someone in a 9-5 job and amplify it times 100 for these guys.
For those who feel as though they’re right in the thick of it, Emma credits her experience on Broadway as having helped hugely to curb the panic attacks and anxiety that dominated her formative years. She recently played a role in hit show Cabaret. Now it’s unlikely that you’d all have the chance to try out Broadway (well, maybe you would!) as a means of therapy, but what Emma’s really referring to here is going outside of her comfort zone. For you, it may be joining a dance class, a trampoline dodgeball team even sitting in silence for ten minutes a day (something few of us are comfortable with) – whatever it is that helps you learn to become more at ease in your own skin and, ultimately, more relaxed.
In an interview with Diane Keaton for Interview magazine, Emma says of her live acting experiences: ‘It’s totally different when you’re shooting something. But only in the past six months to a year have I felt like I can really try these different things… I think I was really scared of that for a long time. And if something was really challenging, I thought that I was just going to fall on my face and embarrass myself. I’m just less scared of that now; of failing.’
Emma is proof that anxiety need not be considered a one-way ticket to a life wrapped in cotton wool; you can totally kick its ass. From the age of eight, Emma suffered the most debilitating panic attacks. ‘[I] was just kind of immobilised by it. I didn’t want to go to my friends’ houses or hang out with anybody, and nobody really understood.’
For Miss Stone, she’s lucky enough to have developed a career that’s more of a help than a hindrance to her mental health: ‘[Acting] gave me a sense of purpose’. On top of this, she’s a big fan of baking. ‘I think I felt really out of control of my surroundings. I was just baking all the time. It seemed like it made me feel, if I put these in, I’ll know what the outcome is.’
What is that keeps you feeling calm and collected?