You're standing across from your scene partner working through a high drama script, and you realize you're just not feeling it.
Maybe you're not actually terrified of them or legitimately hysterical like the situation demands.
Enter sense memories.
But now the scene is over, and you're left with a brain full of bad images and feel like an emotional basket case from reliving a trauma.
While there are a number of ways to protect your mental health as an actor, I want to breakdown a crucial five minute daily exercise I've started personally using.
We can't ignore our self-care if we want to survive as actors.
Self-care is not selfish; it's mandatory.
Keep reading for an easy way to start your self-care routine today.
DAYDREAMING IS YOUR FRIEND
Remember when you got into trouble for daydreaming? Those days are over!
I recommend setting a timer for five minutes per day and allowing your brain to wander through whatever thoughts surface.
The timer is critical because it frees you from keeping track of time.
I personally like to sit in front of a window or outside on my patio if the weather is nice.
No screens allowed.
You can extend this exercise for up to fifteen minutes or multiple five minute sessions throughout the day. It's up to you.
I recommend starting with only five minutes for easier implementation.
FYI, I treat daydreaming and meditation differently.
DAYDREAMING VS MEDITATION
I feel like there are a million different definitions of meditation.
I personally define daydreaming as letting my mind wander and meditation as forcing myself to focus on my breathing or one particular word or phrase in spite of my mind wandering.
In other words, I focus on something specific for meditation but not for daydreaming.
DAYDREAMING & ACTING
So let's take a looksy at the benefits of daydreaming and how those specifically apply to us as actors.
"Like meditation, daydreaming allows your mind to take a break, a mini-vacation in which to release tension and anxiety and "return" refreshed,' as reported on WebMD.
If you're making emotionally intense demands of your brain, but give yourself time to daydream everyday, then you've already built in a system of recovery.
Let's look at a few other reasons actors can benefit from daydreaming.
Psychology Today reports, "Daydreaming is good for you. It fosters creativity, happiness and mental health."
What actor doesn't want all three of those?! Creativity is especially a plus if you want to audition a scene differently than everyone else.
"The brain operates optimally when it toggles between focus and unfocus, allowing you to develop resilience, enhance creativity, and make better decisions too," according to an article by Harvard Business Review.
So if you want to make better decisions on the fly if casting director or director asks you to "do something different," then daydream away my little thespians!
Let's not overlook the mention of developing resilience, which is crucial in our world of getting rejected and hearing criticism.
WARNING ABOUT DAYDREAMING
My research did bring up a few studies correlating daydreams with unhappiness or depression.
From what I've read, it's not a good idea to let your mind wander if you just keep reliving traumatic events or continually feeding negative thoughts.
I would focus more on meditation and a specific phrase to help me relax in that case.
You can read more about how to meditate inthis post.
So what are you waiting for?
Start daydreaming for five minutes TODAY.
Find a place where you can be absolutely alone.
I challenge you to test this for the next seven days.
If you need somewhere to express your new surge of daydreaming creativity, then come check out the free Actor Boss Academy, no signup required.
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