Emma Stone credits acting for helping her refocus childhood anxiety

Emma Stone reflects on how acting helped her refocus on childhood anxiety
Credit: Good Morning America

Emma Stone recently opened up about her childhood struggle with anxiety during an interview with National Public Radio (NPR). The ‘La La Land’ actress, 35, also revealed how she found a way to deal with her challenges.

“I started in therapy, I think around age 8, because it was getting really hard for me to leave the house to go to school,” Stone shared with NPR. “I sort of lived in fear of these panic attacks.” Recounting her first panic attack at 7, Stone said that her anxiety stemmed from the fear of separation from her mother.

“It’s a hard age to be able to reason with yourself, at 7 or 8, and tell yourself these things aren’t true. … It was very hard to convince myself otherwise,” she explained. Stone revealed how things changed when she began acting at the age of 11. She added that acting allowed her to focus on the present moment and that “all of my big feelings are productive, and presence is required.”

Emma Stone talked about how she views anxiety now

The ‘Poor Things’ actress further talked about how she now views anxiety. “I’ve told a lot of younger people that struggle with anxiety, that in many ways I see it as kind of a superpower,” Stone shared. “Just because we might have a funny thing going on in our amygdala, and our fight-or-flight response is maybe a little bit out of whack in comparison to many people’s brain chemistry, it doesn’t make it wrong. It doesn’t make it bad.”

“It just means we have these tools to manage,” she continued. “And if you can use it for productive things, if you can use all of those feelings in those synapses that are firing for something creative, or something that you’re passionate about, or something interesting.” She added, “Anxiety is like rocket fuel because you can’t help but get out of bed and do things, do things, do things because you’ve got all of this energy within you. And that’s really a gift.”

Stone has previously opened up about his anxiety

Stone has been candid about her struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. Reflecting on her experience, she shared that improv taught her to “take all of these big feelings and really listen in the moment and use all of my associative brain.”

Stone shared that anxiety helped her comprehend her emotions better. “I also believe there is a lot of empathy when you struggle a lot internally. There is a tendency to want to understand how people around you work or what’s going on internally with them which is great for characters,” she explained.