I've always felt that I had a lot in common with Vinny Guadagnino (everyone, relax): We both were raised by incredibly overprotective Italian women, and when I saw his mom show up to Miami carrying a suitcase stuffed with cake on Season 2, I actually called my own mother to tell her to watch (my mom once flew to visit me in NYC with 10 pounds of frozen veal cutlets...and you don't want to know the end of the story). Also, Vin and I sweat like a mofo on the dance floor.
When news of his anxiety took center stage during Season 5 of "Jersey Shore," many people--myself included--became particularly interested in his developing character. Feeling anxious is a very relatable topic, and Vin has spent the past three years penning a self-help book to share more of his story.
About a week ago, "Control The Crazy" arrived on my desk, and I powered through it almost as fast as I finished "Hunger Games." With each page turn I learned something new about Vinny that made me say, OMG I did that, too (for instance, we both left college early due to anxiety), so you can imagine my authentic excitement when I learned that I'd be speaking to him about how, at just 24 years old, he's learned so much about his own self that he's created a method to help people manage emotional stress.
The program, he explains in the book (out April 17), was a result of reading a lot of material that his family members suggested he flip through. "My cousin Doug was a recovering drug addict and alcoholic and he was reading some of these books himself, and he passed them on to me," he said. "I always had it in my mind that I wanted to share this with people one day."
Vinny's three-part ideology focuses on controlling the mind, body and spirit--tools that he implements every day to keep himself calm and ward off possible stressors. He's not a philosopher or spiritual adviser; he's just a guy whose quest for self-discovery has brought him personal fulfillment that he wants other people to have. "It's not about having mental power; it's about having control over your emotions," he told me.
While there are many tips and tricks Vinny describes in "Control The Crazy," it's the mental exercises that are the most rewarding. "Being in the present moment and only thinking about what's going on right now will abolish any single problem you're having in your head that day." Go ahead and try it--it's tough, but worth it.
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