Healthy Mindsets for Actors
The Power of Positive Thinking.
The film industry is not for the faint of heart, especially when it comes to being an actor.
Taking care of one’s physical, mental, and spiritual health is of the utmost importance in a field like acting that requires so much of each individual. But how can we, practically, take care of ourselves?
A big struggle for many actors is self-doubt.
In this industry, it’s really easy to fall into the comparison game and feel like every other actor around you is doing better than you are at “making it”, so to speak. Social media is a tool to help us promote ourselves, and because of that we are only seeing other people’s highlight reels. It’s easy to look at someone’s page and say “wow, they seem to be working a lot more than I am” without seeing all the hard work they’re doing behind the scenes. We don’t see the bad days that other people have, or the countless times that they auditioned and didn’t book, or even self-submitted never to get the opportunity to audition in the first place. One of the first steps to developing a healthy mindset is removing any obstacles that are preventing you from believing in yourself. Watching how much time you spend online and who you follow is an amazing place to start. When it comes to other actors and online communities, make sure that you’re following only people who encourage you, help you better yourself and your craft, and make you smile with what they’re posting. And remember, if you don’t want to fully unfollow someone to make sure there’s no hard feelings, there is always the “mute” button.
One of our coaches at The Actor’s Scene has opened up about struggling with negative mindsets and comparison in her own practice. Let’s see what Coach Leah Merritt had to say about overcoming those obstacles in her acting career:
“It’s no secret that the acting industry alone can breed some pretty unhealthy mindsets- if left unchecked. There’s a lot of rejection, comparison, and pressure to look/be a certain way that can be really hard to manage for adults, let alone young actors. But at the same time, I’m thankful that I dealt with these challenges early in my life, because it forced me to find my worth and happiness outside of achievements. I learned to talk kindly to myself and have a perspective of joy and gratitude, rather than stress and dejection. Once those unhealthy mindsets faded away, I started having a lot more fun! Not only in acting, but in life. It’s a whole new world when you realize that no one is your competition. We can all be uniquely talented and beautiful and accomplished in whatever way makes US happy!
Also, there can be a lot of comparison and competitive natures in this industry. I think the biggest thing that helped me through those mindsets was actually becoming friends with the actors I thought I was competing with. I realized instead of judgment, I found a welcoming community of artists that just want to be able to share our common struggles and accomplishments.”
Do you have people to encourage you on the hard days and celebrate with you on the good days?
Community is a MUST for actors. Find your tribe and love them hard!
Each actor is a completely unique and distinctive person, so what works for other people might not work for you. Try out these methods and see if any of them help you find a more healthy mindset and positive outlook!
Dr. Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist, as well as an author and podcaster, and in a September 2021 podcast titled “The One Mindset That Can Help You Through Any Problem” (LINK), she shares some tips for creating a more powerful mindset.
These are just a few of her awesome ideas from the episode, so be sure to check out her podcast for more tips!
- A Sense of Community. As Dr. Leaf says in the episode, “A sense of community helps build hope into the brain and body!”. In a recent TAS TikTok (which you can follow HERE), Coach Kirsten Krehbiel said that her best piece of advice for new actors is to find community. She said “One of the best things that I did and that I think everyone should do is to find an acting family, or an acting community. That way you’re with likeminded people, people who are going to inspire you, help you, support you, and understand. Because even if your family supports you, it’s a very bizarre industry and the more people that can help you, the better it’s going to be.” Here’s a link to that video: TIKTOK
- Living Outside of Social Labels. As actors, it’s easy to feel stuck in your typecast, or the way that casting typically sees you. Don’t feel restricted by your type, just be aware of it. Dr. Leaf says that “People who do not get stuck in labels or the way society tries to define them often have more hope”. In addition to comparison with the types or frequency of roles that we get, there is also a lot of comparison between actors about the amount of training they have had, how their headshots look, how many followers they have, the list goes on. Let’s be clear: there is no “right way” to start or maintain your acting career. As long as you are continuing training, updating your materials to reflect your current career credits and physical appearance, and working to improve your craft individually, you are in the right place.
- Knowing What Can Be Controlled. The film industry is unpredictable. Actors have no direct hand in the casting process, which means that there are a lot of factors about auditioning and booking that we cannot control. Instead of fretting over your ratio of auditions to bookings, or comparing your success to other people with similar experience, focus on what you can control. We had a section on our blog, “How Do I Get My Child On Nickelodeon/Disney?” where we talked about goal-setting for actors, and how to focus on goals within an actor’s control. If you’d like to check out that article, you can click HERE. We also had a helpful TikTok on this subject, which you can find HERE. Basically, make your goals tangible. Instead of having goals centered on auditions or booking, which is out of your control, focus on the aspects that you can control! Maybe a goal can be self-submitting for a certain number of projects, trying to hone a new skill like singing (which you can start with the lovely Coach Kate Leek, whose information to book is HERE), or even scheduling a career coaching to evaluate and elevate your submission materials like your headshot, resume, reel, etc! To find a private career coach and schedule a session like that, click HERE. In addition to tangible goals, we also want to focus on our wins along the way! Taking a new class is a win. Getting those headshots or materials updated is a win. Getting the audition is a win. Take the pressure off of yourself to achieve grand career steps that are out of your hands, and focus instead on what you’re actively doing to improve your craft and your skillset.
We begin the mental health process early; teaching young actors the beauty of their unique quality and appreciation for each other!
Overall, mindset is everything when it comes to acting. Focus on taking care of yourself as a whole person (mind, body, spirit), and your acting will improve with that self care. Make sure you are actively training, whether that be in an in-person class, a virtual class, or a one-on-one private coaching rhythm. To find a place to get plugged in, check out our class offerings HERE, and our private coaching offerings HERE.
We’ll leave you with this awesome quote from Dale Carnegie: “Find yourself and be yourself: remember there is no one else on Earth like you.” Take care of yourselves, actors!
Ready to get started? Reach out today!
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About The Author
Molly Pass is an Atlanta-local actress, acting coach, and wedding videographer who loves to help new and seasoned actors alike find their purpose and passion through performance. She holds her bachelor’s degree in Film and Media Studies from Georgia State University and enjoys discussing movies, shows, and all things new media. Her favorite part of working at The Actor’s Scene is being able to inspire folks to pursue their dreams and helping them to gain confidence in themselves along the way. When she is not acting or working in the digital media realm, she enjoys reading murder mysteries and desperately trying to keep a garden alive.