The Wellbeing Series Reading List
Our favourite reads to help you to navigate the mental challenges of making a living in the performing arts industry, chosen by Bea Grist, Spotlight’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager.
By Bea Grist
- The Power of Now by Echart Tolle
Echart Tolle’s bestselling book explores what it means to be more present and conscious in each moment of our lives. Written from his own personal experience, Tolle helps you to bring more awareness to your ‘chattering’ mind and explores how presence can help you to deal with painful emotions and live a happier, more fulfilled life. Great performances come from being present - I recommend that every actor and performer reads this book.
- Presence: How to Use Positive Energy for Success in Every Situation by Patsy Rodenberg
Patsy’s work on presence needs little introduction. I love this book for so many reasons but mainly I'm recommending it for her no-nonsense approach to the subject matter and how you can use the ‘second circle’ of presence to transform how you perform and the impact you create both on stage/set and off.
- Secrets of Performing Confidence by Andrew Evans and Adam Evans
This book is packed with solid information, tools, and techniques that any performer whatever stage of their career, can use right away. The authors draw on a wealth of knowledge that comes from working closely with leading performers in the fields of music, acting and dance. Great for managing performance-related anxiety and stage fright.
- The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
Since it was first published in 1992, The Artists’ Way has been a must-read for anyone wanting to find a deeper connection to their creative process and purpose. Cameron leads you through a 12-week course of insightful personal exercises to enable you to free up and unblock your creativity.
- Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson
This book is brilliant at helping you to manage the chatter of the inner-critic. It’s written in a language that is easy to read and Carson brings lots of humour and fun to help you to understand more about the inner-critic (Carson calls them ‘Gremlins’) and how they can get in the way of you moving forward.
- Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine
Don’t be put off by the corporate looking cover; this is a highly useful book for actors and performers. Chamine teaches you about the top ten most common inner-critics (or saboteurs) and how you can manage them. The framework is rooted in evidence-based research, positive psychology and neuroscience. It is surprisingly simple and effortless too.
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
Brené has come a long way since her Ted Talk on The Power of Vulnerability went global in 2014. The Gifts of Imperfection is my favourite read for actors and performers because it embraces the idea of imperfection and sets out to show how flaws and faults can be used to your advantage. In an industry where you’re constantly trying to do everything ‘right’, I found this a refreshing and enlightening read.
- Big Magic: How to Live a Creative Life, and Let Go of Your Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
A fantastic and inspirational read if you are trying to channel creativity or just interested in the process. It will help to bring a lighter, more joyful approach to your creativity. A must-read for anyone who has ideas but is afraid to move forward with them.
Books recommended by you - our members!
We asked and you told us. Here are the books that you’d happily recommend to your fellow actors and performers:
- Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope by Johann Hari
- The Charisma Myth: How to Engage, Influence and Motivate People by Olivia Fox
- Please Yourself: How to Stop People-Pleasing and Transform the Way You Live by Emma Reed Turrell
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk
- Flourishing: How to Achieve a Deeper Sense of Well-being and Purpose in a Crisis by Maureen Gaffney
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey
- The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober: Discovering a Happy, Healthy, Wealthy Alcohol-Free Life by Catherine Gray
Read a great book that helped your mental health or wellbeing? Tell us and we'll share it!