Are Actors the most stressed out people?
Britney Spears has shaved her head and gone into rehab. We keep hearing of freaky behavior like this. Does this mean that acting is a terribly stressful profession? I thought I would check it out, and found a recent survey on the most stressful professions. Guess what? Acting doesn’t figure anywhere.
IT is the most stressful profession, followed by Medicine, Engineering, Sales and Marketing, Education, Finance, Human Resources, Operations, Production, and lastly, Clerical. I looked hard to see whether acting fitted in here somewhere, even indirectly.
Nope, acting wasn’t even in the Top Five, not even in the the top ten “Work Stressers”, which are:
Having to take on other people’s work
Lack of job satisfaction
Lack of control over the working day
Having to work long hours
Frustration with the working environment
But people continue to believe that actors are in a highly “stressed profession”. A front page article in Bombay Times today said that ” limelight takes a slow and steady toll on those it favours. Hectic schedules arc lights, jet lag, neglible rest, high stress routines…..probably the list will be enough to drive most of us to the doctors. And when it comes to the actors, add to their list stunts, numerous interviews and promotional campaigns. No wonder some of our Bollywood stars are riddled with health problems.” This front page article was written because Saif Ali Khan, a Bollywood actor, suffered a heart attack a few days ago. Two other examples from the industry, Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan (who also suffer from health problems) were cited as examples.
I always believed that celebrities are happier and less stressed than people in some of the other professions. I mean, they are forced to keep in shape, which means regular exercise and diet. This by itself is a stress buster. And their job throws them in contact with people, which means less chances of lonliness or isolation. And hey, lets not forget that Saif and Shah Rukh both smoke. If they got sick it was probably due to this, and genetics too must have played a part. And if Britney does wierd things, well, maybe she was always wierd or its all a publicity stunt.
So what kind of stress do celebrities have to deal with?
There’s this survey which talks of the kind of stress that celebrities do face. Charles Figley, Ph.D., from Florida State University mailed 200 questionnaires to randomly chosen celebrities. He got 51 replies, and from these he compiled a list of their top 10 stressors:
Lack of privacy
The constant monitoring of their lives
Worry about career plunges
Lack of security, need for reassurance that they deserve what they have achieved.
Worries about their children’s lives being disrupted.
Even these factors do not make acting one of the top ten stressful professions. When a celebrity commits suicide there is a just a lot of hype. But the fact is that more poor farmers in Maharastra have committed suicide than Bollywood celebrities. The press might want to make us believe that celebrities are terribly unhappy people. They might want to tell us that a person can’t have everything. Good looks, good health, money, fame and happiness! Doesn’t sound fair, does it?
Quite fair really. Most actors get to where they are because hard work and talent. Their profession forces them to take care of their bodies and throws them amongst other people. The adulation they get helps boost their self-esteem. If they still remain confused and unhappy, its because they never had much self-esteem to begin with. Thats very individual. If they were into any other profession, they would probably be much much unhappier! Acting in fact helps them cope, acting doesn’t make lose their self-esteem. In fact, the adulation they get adds to it!
(Photos have been sourced from The Age and Bollywoodcity)