10 TIPS ON DEALING WITH STRESS IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY
1. BREATHING AND EXERCISE: I know this sounds like common sense. However, are you really doing it… taking long, slow, deep breaths and taking the time to do this a few times throughout the day? What is your exercise routine? Exercise is probably one of the most important proven stress reducers. A recent article in Better Nutrition magazing recommends a weekly mixture of weights, aerobics and stretching. For me, it has to be fun. I love my pilates class. My local Curves offers a great Zumba dance class and I go to the gym twice a week for the heavy weights.
2. WHAT YOU EAT MATTERS: What are you eating? Try making a list of everything you put in your mouth this week. Be conscious and awake here. Sugars and starch can make you feel edgy, depressed and even angry… all leading to fatigue and irrational thinking, which directly leads to stress. Living foods can help reduce stress, give you energy and help create clarity. Try reducing the sugars and starch and increasing the greens and see what happens.
3. CONFIDENCE LOWERS STRESS: I interviewed Master Talent Teacher founder and 30 year commercial audition coach, Carolyne Barry. Her top tip on dealing with stress is “make a point of building your confidence.” Carolyne’s worked with thousands of actors and she feels that the proper training with the right people combined with dedicated preparation is paramount to helping build confidence. Feeling confident about yourself and your work will keep stress at bay. Find out more about Carolyne at www.mastertalentteachers.com or at www.carolynebarry.com.
4. HAVE A FULL LIFE: Carolyne also suggested that we make sure we have a full life. She’s all about mastering being organized so that “you can schedule in time for you!” She suggests that “We dance, lunch with friends, walk, read a good book… release from work.” “We’re alive to enjoy the ride” she says, “so, how you treat yourself is important. Surround yourself with empowering people and celebrate and appreciate every success, everyday… big and small.”
5. MEDITATION: Meditation is an excellent stress reducer says Transformation Coach and Soul Notes founder Barbara Daoust. Even a few minutes a day at any time during the day is beneficial. However “the optimal times” Barbara suggests “are before bed and first thing in the morning when we are in our alpha state. These are the best times to generate positive affirmations and new patterns of thinking that you want to develop.” “Silencing the mind will help you focus,” she says, “and focus leads to clarity and the more clarity we have the more the conscious we are. The more conscious we are the more we can distinguish our thoughts.” As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, if you are a beginner or if you feel you just don’t have time check out www.learningmeditation.com. And to check out Barbara’s site go to www.barbaradaoust.com.
6. THE PIVOTAL PROCESS: Barbara was telling me that of the over 50,000 random thoughts we have per day as many as 75 to 95% are negative! Does that blow your mind? Seldom do we question our thoughts and yet they determine our feelings. The more we focus on the negative the more the negative expands. That downward spiral leads to stress. Barbara feels that the pivotal process is a great tool to offset this. “Ask yourself… do I feel powerful or powerless? When you do this you can consciously raise yourself into a better feeling thought. When you’re feeling more powerful you’re managing your thoughts versus your thoughts managing you.”
7. TIME MANAGEMENT: A lot of our stress comes from having too much to do and not enough time to do it. One of the things that I did back when I started to experience stress was look at how I could improve my time management skills. I was very weak in this area. I took a time management workshop and the trainer suggested that we invest in a day planner or day timer. I love it and I believe it actually reduces my stress. Here are a couple of tricks that I use with my day planner. At the end of each work day I set up my list for the next day. That way I am not taking work home with me. It stays in the office. Also, I list my jobs numerically in order of importance. And I check them off as I go through the day which feels really good. If there are items still left on my list I move them to the next day. Give it a try.
8. WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE: Words have a direct effect on us both psychologically and physiologically so be careful what you say. My stress specialist told me to stop using works like ‘should’ and ‘must.’ Use preferences instead. For example, replace “I should have gotten that role,” with “It would have been nice if I had gotten the role and I certainly did my best.” It really does take the pressure off and you gradually learn to stop beating up on yourself.
9. CHANGE YOUR SELF-TALK: What are those voices in your head telling you? Most of the time we are on autopilot and thinking the worst is a tunnel we tend to go down. It’s called ‘catastrophizing.’ We predict that the worst is going to happen. My stress specialist back in the 80s gave me a great exercise for this. He had me keep a daily list of events that caused me anxiety. I had to write out a brief description of each item with a parallel category describing “what’s the worst that could happen?” I was always amazed and relieved to know that even the worse possible scenario was something I could handle and never life threatening. It’s a great exercise.
10. DO YOUR HOMEWORK: And like the quote says “Live like your life depends on it.” Like every topic today there are tons of resources available. Google stress and you’ll find a wealth of information. A couple of books that I found extremely helpful are Dr. David Burns “Feeling Good, the New Mood Therapy” and Dr. Albert Ellis’ “Rational Emotive Therapy – Self Help Techniques.” If you feel that you really need help, make an appointment with a stress specialist. Don’t let stress interfere with the joy and fun you want and deserve to have from life.
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