According to the Australian Actors’ Wellbeing Study that was carried out in 2015, people who regularly perform are much more prone to depression and anxiety than those who do not. The study also revealed that actors are also more prone to high stress levels because of issues such as job security and low income. Throughout history it is observed that people who act often end up turning into emotional train wrecks, this is owed to the fact that actors have to incite emotions and feeling of various kinds in order to get into character.
Most of you might think that being an actor is one of the easiest jobs out there, however, studies have revealed that this line of work can be really stress inducing, especially at an emotional level. Most actors being out deep and strong emotions in order to “connect” with the role that they play, and once they are done with the role, most actors (specially the less experienced ones) do not take time to separate themselves from those emotions. This can lead to emotional hangovers which can have negative effects that make it harder for them to cope with their personal lives.
Fortunately, there is now an active effort into doing something about this problem, acting schools and companies have been looking into what they can do for their performers’ mental health being.
This problem begins when an actor tries to “put on” a role, this process is much more complex then what one might think and once an actor has gotten into character, it is equally hard to let go of the emotions associated with the role. In fact, many actors have a harder time letting go of those emotions, some even end up carrying them over to their lives and then have to deal with their negative consequences.
Acting teachers sometimes have to point this out to their students since the actor often does not even realise that what is happening. Another reason why actors have to deal with a lot of emotional troubles is that they often delve into their personal histories in order to find the right emotions. This can result in the actor being traumatised if they are triggering memories that are unpleasant for them. Acting schools need to be really careful when working on plays that involve themes sexual assault and domestic violence since things could get messy for students who have experienced such events in their own past.
The best way to ensure that harmful emotions do not seep into the actor’s life is to carry out de-rolling sessions after every play, these sessions could consist of a cast feedback session, carrying out deep breathing exercises and physical exercises to help individuals relax. Carrying out such activities has become really important since it helps actors differentiate between the stage and the rest of the world, making it easier for them to leave all the emotions and feeling associated with their characters on the stage.