How to Cope with the Tough Stuff, Without Becoming Amy Winehouse

Because if there's one thing this incredibly talented young woman taught us, it's how NOT to cope with the tough stuff.

By , Columnist

Obsessive worrying is one of my downfalls. No matter what the problem -- can’t find a job, can’t keep my apartment cool in this dumb heat, my bills are piling up, what the hell and I going to write today?! -- there are times when I just can’t tune out my anxiety and move forward. So I’ve found that sometimes you just have to find ways to scale, circumvent, or shatter your worries so you can progress.

Now, poor Amy Winehouse has recently proven again that crack is, indeed, whack, my friends, and so is trying to tame the whirlwind inside your head in any way that isn’t organic. If you bring in outside substances or methods to deaden your stressors, all you’re really doing is putting them off until later. But, as we all (should have) learned in school, procrastination makes everything harder in the end, so here are a few proactive ways to at least begin to sort out your problems in the present.

Haul your hysterical butt to the gym, stat

Run towards physical and mental health, instead of away from your problems. Whether you’re lifting weights or hopping on a treadmill, working out your tension, anger, or other upset in a physical way is probably the healthiest way to cope. Hitting up a couple of upbeat classes will also do wonders, as the focus is suddenly taken off you and shifted to a group environment where everyone’s working towards a similar goal.

Get your mind/body awareness on

Since it’s usually reflection on the past or concern for the future that bogs the brain down, learning how to dwell in the present, even temporarily, can bring a huge surge of relief. Yoga, meditation, tai chi, martial arts, even pilates are all great ways to get out of your own head and instead focus on movement, breath, and the all-important present. For me, there’s something about guiding my body through sometimes-intense yogic sequences that either forces my brain to shift to “task at hand” mode or simply makes all my outside worries seem less important.

Often hobbies can do the same thing -- jewelry-making, scrapbooking, playing soccer, restoring an old car, anything you love to do -- so find what calms you and go with it.

Speaking of your mind, get someone else to help you comb through yours

When you lose your keys, it’s often a good idea to get another pair of eyes to help you look; funnily enough, the same can be said when you feel like you’re losing your mind. To a lot of people, therapy sounds like a crock of crap, and I can certainly see where the idea of spilling your guts to a veritable stranger isn’t super-attractive. At the same time, if you pick a qualified therapist (and don’t be shy about auditioning a few until you’re happy), their training and experience in the field might help you find resolutions you simply don’t have the perspective or distance to see on your own.

Actually want to feel better and believe it’s possible.

As someone addicted to worrying, I know this is a huge component. If you don’t want help, nothing will work. But when you pair desire and belief with positive action, there’s nothing you can’t overcome.

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Emmie Scott is an English major-turned-marketing exec, with a passion for writing, humor, sharing knowledge, and "pink drinks." After hours, she started Are Toe Rings Professional Attire?, a blog for college grads and twenty-somethings looking to find their way through that daunting labyrinth called…

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