HOLLYWOOD IS SUFFERING FROM INTENSE ANXIETY
Hollywood is not a laid-back or mellow place. In fact, it can be an intense and neurotic pressure cooker that can get the best of practically anyone. Now the Hollywood Reporter has taken a look at how many executives are suffering from anxiety, and what they’re doing to fight it and improve their mental health.
Seeking Asylum From Anxiety
Usually, the cover of the Hollywood Reporter is dedicated to a big movie star. This time, it’s dedicated to anxiety, which a lot of people in the business are feeling these days. “I’m always having anxiety,” one executive says. “Stress seems to happen every day in Hollywood. There’s anxiety all around.”
Hollywood is going through a lot of turmoil these days. There’s a lot of fear about where the business will go next. There’s always changes in technology, as well as the kinds of films and cable shows people want to see, and no one knows where anything is going next.
One executive interviewed for the story was successful and in good shape from a brutal exercise program, but he couldn’t stop panicking. “I was operating in fight-or-flight mode. I realized I’m losing control of my emotions.” This executive went to a wellness center in India to get help because he “needed a mental shift. And when my mind shifted, everything else took off.”
What Causes Hollywood Anxiety
Right now the industry is experiencing a lot of anxiety because companies like Amazon, Apple and Netflix are disrupting the business. With Fox and Disney merging, there are certain to be layoffs. Many are fearful for their jobs and are afraid of their futures.
In the entertainment business, the stakes are high, and even successful people are afraid they’re going to lose their jobs. “Even if you get promoted, if you don’t make money, they quickly let you go.”
As one anxiety expert explains, for a lot of executives under pressure, “There’s unpredictability in their position, and unpredictability is a fundamental building block of anxiety. That lack of control is paramount in entertainment.”
Well-known actress Rosanna Arquette said, “I realize that I’m incredibly anxious 24/7 and I never realized that. I take on a lot of people’s energy, and I soak it up. It’s exhausting and affects everything.”
And Deepak Chopra says that anxiety in Hollywood is “a really deep insecurity that comes from what one might call ‘performance anxiety’ and approval. Most people [know] they’re only as good as their last film, song. It’s normal to get attached to the importance that everyone else is giving you, and then you start getting worried about whether you’ll be able to sustain it.”
We all know the unhealthy way people deal with stress and anxiety: Self-destructive behavior. But there are many people in Hollywood who enjoy being healthy and practice wellness.
It’s an old saying, but one of the best pieces of advice you can implement for anxiety is controlling your emotions or your emotions control you. As one Hollywood source said, “You learn to not let your stress control you.” Easier said than done of course, but as one former Hollywood executive who opened her own yoga studio says, she used to block off twenty minutes a day to meditate.
“There are mornings when I wake up and one of the first things I say to myself is: ‘Well, where do I feel it? Oh my God. It’s right in my chest. OK. That’s anxiety.’ And I’ll just sit there and breathe into that space and watch it disappear.”