Deadlines, due dates, expectations, a fast-paced environment, and a multitude of moving parts, are highly prevalent in the film/tv industry. Yes – this comes with the territory, and Yes – we supposedly “know what we are getting ourselves into” when we enter this industry; perhaps, though, this outlook lulls us into thinking ‘it’s just the way it is” and reduces our sense of control over our situation, ultimately limiting our efforts to calm our over-active nervous system, resulting in chronic stress and anxiety.
Anxiety is a fear response created by the sympathetic nervous system – the “fight/flight/freeze” response, AKA “survival mode”. When we experience anxiety, it is important to be able to recognize the symptoms and learn to regulate our nervous system. We can do this between takes, during a “tight five”, or while moving equipment, sets, and unpredictable/ever-changing workplace dynamics.
Let’s begin by gaining a better understanding of anxiety, and its less-distressing counterpart – worry.