Operating out of our head/box allows the mind to increase our anxiety levels. That is exactly what happened when I lived in L.A. and went on my auditions. My mind would start racing and telling myself I had to be perfect in this audition otherwise I may never get another shot. It would go on to say I can’t fail, I have to say the lines right, express the right emotions and look natural. This need to be perfect caused my stress and anxiety levels to go up.

My mind was like a tape recorder and during the drive to an audition it would repeat the same lines over and over- be perfect. Think about a tape recorder and how it is programmed to play back the same message over and over again. You can imagine that message being replayed in the mind over and over again. This is exactly what happened to me while in L.A. and I was auditioning. It would run the same scenarios through my mind over and over again which were:

“I can’t fail, I have to say the lines right, express the right emotions and look natural”.

“I can’t fail, I have to say the lines right, express the right emotions and look natural”

“I can’t fail, I have to say the lines right, express the right emotions and look natural”

“I can’t fail, I have to say the lines right, express the right emotions and look natural”

“I can’t fail, I have to say the lines right, express the right emotions and look natural”

The results from the tape recorder are costly. Being in my head/box caused panic attacks. This included circulation being cut off in my hands causing them to turn ice cold. If I touched you would jump due to their temperature. In addition, I had a pounding heartbeat. As the panic attack increased so too did my heart rate. At the peak of the attack my heart felt like it was ready to come out of my chest. As my anxiety levels increased so too did my tempo and rhythm. I would walk and talk faster and my thoughts would be off to the races. When one’s anxiety is increased it’s difficult to be in a creative state.

In order to combat the anxiety created by being in one’s head/box one must shift their focus. This includes getting the focus off of us. What caused our anxiety levels to increase if having our focus on ourselves, and more specifically, on our thoughts. The more I focused on my thoughts the louder the tape recorder got. Only when I got the focus off my thoughts was I able to pause the recorder and generate new thoughts.

Shifting my focus is very simple in nature but more complex in nature. The simplicity is focus on whatever is going on around you. If you are with someone focus on that person and their facial expressions, tones, body language and emotions and this will take one out of their head/box. However, if one is alone one must put the focus on something else in the room or their immediate surroundings if they want to turn off the tape recorder.

Once we have the focus off of us and our thoughts we can hit the stop bottom on the tape recorder. However, until the machine is stopped we can’t escape being in our head/box.