Tony Hale says his lifelong battle with anxiety helped him get through the pandemic: 'By the grace of God, I had a lot of tools to go to'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Tony Hale Matt Winkelmeyer Getty
Tony Hale. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty
  • Tony Hale, who has anxiety, told Insider there are specific "tools" he uses to manage it.

  • He says he doesn't live in the "what if" and focuses on senses like smell and sight.

  • While on set during the pandemic, he said FaceTiming with his family was key.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Tony Hale has had anxiety for most of his life and says dealing with it head-on for years helped prepare him for the challenge of a worldwide pandemic.

"During tough times, you gain more tools in your tool box," Hale told Insider recently while promoting his upcoming Disney Plus series, "The Mysterious Benedict Society." "When something like the last year happens, by the grace of God, I had a lot of tools to go to."

Hale previously told Insider that his biggest problem has been living in the present.

"If I'm not careful, then I'm constantly looking to the next thing," Hale said back in 2019 while promoting "Toy Story 4." "And, honestly, that's easier for me to do than to challenge myself to be present. It's more of a challenge to look at where I am than to the next thing."

So in the past year, when the present was such an ugly and dangerous place, how did Hale get through it?

"There would be simple things that I would say to myself like: 'Don't live in the what if.' Whenever you find yourself in the 'what if,' you say, 'Not now,'" he said. "And there has been a lot of what if-ing this past year."

The "Veep" star said when times got particularly tough for him, he would try to activate his five senses. He would concentrate on smelling something, or focus on something in his sight line, and sometimes even touch something near him and focus on that.

"What that does is it grounds me to the space where I am because my mind wants to go somewhere completely different," he said.

mysterious benedict society disney
Tony Hale in "The Mysterious Benedict Society." Disney Plus

Hale said the biggest help was technology - which he admits, in the pre-pandemic days, was something he felt tore people apart. But while working in Vancouver for five months shooting "The Mysterious Benedict Society" at the height of the coronavirus, he said using FaceTime to see his family kept him in a good mental-health space.

"I'm going to work and thinking, how am I going to get through this?" Hale said. "And I was able to see my family twice a day and then hear about their day."

"At the dinner table, they are all eating and my face is there on the device," he continued. "Those were the things I was very grateful for."

Despite having made it through the thick of the pandemic, Hale still sometimes struggles when it comes to staying present.

The Emmy winner told Insider there are bad days, but his recommendation for others managing their anxiety is to hit the reset button the next day: Start over.

"Sometimes, the tools are not working," he said. "That's when you realize you're going to have a day when nothing seems to be working, but that's okay. It's about not beating yourself up."

Hale plays two characters, Nicholas Benedict and Ledroptha Curtain, in "The Mysterious Benedict Society." The series premieres on Disney Plus June 25.

Read the original article on Insider