Emma Stone has contended with anxiety for much of her life. The award-winning actress told National Public Radio on Jan. 31 that a childhood difficulty with panic attacks led her to seek out therapy when she was 8-years-old.
She took up acting three years later, when she was 11, a move that would—unwittingly—help her cope with her anxiety. Stone’s newfound passion was, according to Terry Gross and NPR, “a way to remain in the present moment, without worrying about the past or the future.” Acting dials Stone in. “All of my big feelings are productive, and presence is required,” she said of her career.
Plus, she has come to view anxiety as a sort of “superpower,” something that drives her passions, including her acting pursuits.
“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 explained. ”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, 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 used it as such, propelling her into a huge career in which she’s racked up various accolades, including an Oscar, two Golden Globes, a BAFTA and a handful of other awards.