“Anxiety is like rocket fuel because you can't help but get out of bed and do things because you've got all of this energy within you," Stone said
Emma Stone is putting a positive spin on her anxiety.
In a new interview with National Public Radio (NPR) published Wednesday, the Poor Things actress, 35, opened up about her childhood anxiety, sharing that while she initially had a tough time dealing with it, she found a way to push through.
"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 told NPR. "I sort of lived in fear of these panic attacks."
The actress, who said that she had her first panic attack when she was 7 years old, added she believed the source of her anxiety when she was younger stemmed from the fear of being separated from her mother. She noted, “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.”
All that changed, however, when Stone started acting at the age of 11. The actress said the craft provided a way for her to focus on the moment without worrying about what happened before or what would happen later. She told the outlet that as an actor, "all of my big feelings are productive, and presence is required."
Those experiences have altered the way she thinks of anxiety now, Stone said. She shared to NPR that she thinks it can be a positive thing if people know what to do with it.
“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 said. “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."
Said Stone: “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."
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The Superbad actress has been open about her battle with anxiety and panic attacks for several years. In 2018, Stone said that improv taught her to “take all of these big feelings and really listen in the moment and use all of my associative brain.” That anxiety helped her understand the emotions of her characters better.
“I also believe there is a lot of empathy when you struggled a lot internally,” she said. “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.”
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