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Here’s How Acting Helped Emma Stone Deal With Her Anxiety

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Emma Stone has become one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars in recent years, but part of her process was born out of challenges she encountered as a child with anxiety.

In an interview for her cover of Rolling Stone, the La La Land star revealed that she suffered from panic attacks and crippling bouts of anxiety as a kid.

“My anxiety was constant,” she said. “I would ask my mom a hundred times how the day was gonna lay out. What time was she gonna drop me off? Where was she gonna be? What would happen at lunch? Feeling nauseous. At a certain point, I couldn’t go to friends’ houses anymore – I could barely get out the door to school.”

Stone’s parents recognized that she needed help, getting her a therapist which she says “helped so much.” However, another way that she coped with her anxiety was through performing — participating in theater and improv groups to nurture an early love of comedy that would prepare her for the hilarious roles she would have later in life with Easy A and Superbad.

“I started acting at this youth theater, doing improv and sketch comedy,” Stone said. “You have to be present in improv, and that’s the antithesis of anxiety.”

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Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com