|Vinny Guadagnino, one of eight housemates in MTV’s hit reality show “Jersey Shore,” brought his message of being a healthier person by living in the present moment to a packed house at Black Hills State University’s Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center.
| Vinny Guadagnino, also known as Vinny G, discussed his battle with anxiety and depression and how he has learned to take charge of those feelings.
Vinny Guadagnino, one of eight housemates in MTV’s hit reality show “Jersey Shore,” brought his message of being a healthier person by living in the present moment to a packed house at Black Hills State University’s Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center. Hundreds of college and high school students listened as Guadagnino, also known as Vinny G, discussed his battle with anxiety and depression and how he has learned to take charge of those feelings.
“I realized I am addicted to thinking. Some people are addicted to drugs, alcohol or medications, but I am addicted to thinking,” he said noting that he had to learn to focus on the silence in between his thoughts. “I had to learn how to control my thoughts and be in a zen/meditated place of mind, because my thoughts are what really messed me up.”
Guadagnino, whose book “Control the Crazy: My Plan to Stop Stressing, Avoid Drama, and Maintain Inner Cool” is a New York Times bestseller, has spoken at four universities including BHSU where he has told high school and college students how to keep their inner cool, relieve anxiety, and calm the mind, body and soul. His advice to students is to pick a program that works for them, whether it is working out once a day, practicing breathing, doing yoga, or talking to someone about the stress.
“When you live in the present moment, you become a better you,” he said. “If you woke up and took ten deep breaths, you would become a calmer and nicer person.”
Guadagnino first noticed his anxious feelings during his time at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz. “One day I woke up and I was in a really dark place. I was emotionally detached from everyone around me,” he said. The Staten Island native left SUNY and enrolled at a college closer to home. He graduated with a political science degree from the College of Staten Island.
Drawing from his own experiences and reading books from prominent personal growth experts such as Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra, Guadagnino developed a triple threat program that focuses on the mind, body and spirit.
“I wanted to write a book that younger people and my generation can relate to from information that I was taking in,” he said. “A lot of people want to come and see me because of “Jersey Shore” and that’s fine, but if they get something out of my speech, then it’s better for me.”
Guadagnino talked the problems he had during his time on “Jersey Shore.” While filming, cast members were not allowed to read, write, watch TV, or have a cell phone. He talked about how he missed his family, and that his situation was not good for an anxious person because there was a lot of time to think.
Guadagnino briefly left the show after filming two seasons back to back.
“At that point it got really overwhelming. I felt defeated,” he said. “I walked away (from the show) not knowing if I would return.”
Guadagnino did return and said last night he does not regret going on the show.
“Being on ‘Jersey Shore’ was the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life,” he said noting that it was another obstacle he overcame.
Guadagnino said that speaking at events about anxiety gets rid of his anxiety. Whenever you are doing something that you love where you aren’t thinking and you are in the moment, anxiety does not exist, he said.
“There is a part of me that likes performing because it relieves all of my stress,” Guadagnino said. While nervous at first, once he gets up in front of the audience his anxiety leaves, he said.
Guadagnino’s presentation was sponsored by the Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series at BHSU.
The Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series was established in 1986 by a gift endowment from Madeline Young, a 1924 alumna. Young expressed her desire to host controversial, stimulating, and enlivening speakers at BHSU. It was initiated at the University in 1987 with an address by former United Nations Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. Other Madeline Young Speakers have included: Terry Waite, former hostage, hostage negotiator and envoy for England’s Archbishop of Canterbury; Felix Justice and Danny Glover, actors; Sam Donaldson, television broadcaster; Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize winner; Lech Walesa, former Polish president; and Jeffrey Viken, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota.