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The Craft

Life Coach Justina Vail Wants You to be Happy

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Life Coach Justina Vail Wants You to be Happy
As an actor, whatever level your career is at, you will either be auditioning or taking meetings for the roles you want. You will inevitably face some rejection, uncertainty, and disappointment, as well as some wins and job offers. You may find that at times it feels like a roller coaster. You drop into a low when an audition doesn't go well and leap into a high when you land a role. The issue with roller coasters is, though they may be thrilling for a while, living on one will wear you out pretty fast.

When it comes to happiness, you (like every human being on the planet) have what's called a "baseline state," the level of happiness you tend to return to once the novelty of any outside event has passed -- whether it's positive or negative. Your baseline state is the foundation of what life is like for you, and it will affect your relationships, self-esteem, performances -- and career.

Did you know that 50 percent of your happiness is determined by your genes, 10 percent by outside circumstances, and a whopping 40 percent by the intentional activities you take part in on a daily basis? This means your overall happiness is not really about what happens to you -- it's not about whether you get that movie or book that TV show. It's about what choices you make in your daily life.

So what are your choices? What can you do to raise that baseline state of happiness while navigating the ups and downs of being an actor? A few big keys are being optimistic, having healthy relationships, nurturing self-esteem, having a belief in something greater, choosing to forgive, and practicing regular meditation or mindfulness. Sounds pretty simple, but for most actors these are elements that can really use revisiting.

If, for example, you just take "having healthy relationships," how many of your actor friends are unhappy with their careers? Research says you are a direct reflection of the five people you spend most of your time with, so unhappy friends will lead to an unhappy you. Sitting around "co-misery-ating" with your fellow actors about how tough the business is isn't going to make you happy, nor is it going to lead to a great career. The good news is that having happier and more positive people in your life will. Your relationships are just one of many elements that influence how happy you will be.

Do you want to let what happens out there in the industry determine your happiness, or do you want to determine it for yourself? Taking hold of your life and building a strong, healthy foundation for yourself is what will keep you sane and happy through it all.

Justina Vail is a life coach, a speaker, and an award-winning actor and author. Her new book "How to Be a Happy Actor in a Challenging Business" is due to be released this summer. www.actorslifecoaching.com.

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