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Luckily I don’t eat junk food when I have problems anymore. Unfortunately, I don’t run, swim or sweat it out with a jump rope anymore either. You have no idea how fit I would be if I did! I don’t think & clean much anymore, either. My apartment would be spotless. As my home isn’t spotless and my hips are just as cluttered, what do I do now when I’m stressed? Is it effective?

1. Music–there’s nothing like pulling out the iPod and dancing around to the sounds from yesteryear–Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Whitney Houston–and from today–Usher, Robin Thicke, Erykah Badu, Vivian Green. Or just singing it out in my apartment or car, like a mini Christina Aguilera (or supersized–I am two whole inches taller than her!).

2. Movies/TV on DVD/books/writing–I love movies for the same reason I love books and writing. Stephen King said it best in Misery. While that poor author was being terrorized, drugged, having limbs cut off/hobbled (depending on book or movie version), he saw writing as the ultimate escape, falling down the hole in the paper like Alice down the rabbit hole. I fall into these fictitious worlds. It’s like I slip my skin off and dive into the pool of someone else’s emotions without that barrier, real soul to soul stuff, when the entertainment is done right.

But something special happens when I write. Imagine me sitting at a desk sitting on my couch with one leg tucked under me and a yellow legal pad on my lap. I put a pen to the paper, and, while I”m lost in the process of writing, the walls fall down, the breakfast bar folds up, the TV floats away, and I end up sitting on a trash can in some trash strewn alley in the middle of the night, where some laughing drunk rich boy, has been robbed and is getting kicked in the face. When I look up, I’m surprised to see the digital cable box sitting under my TV proclaiming the time to be 4 a.m. I look down and see page after pale gold page of the alley, the robbery, how the drunk boy got to be there. It’s like capturing lightning in a bottle.

3. I hang out with Mr. Perfect. If nothing else, it banishes my blues. We go out to eat, or to the gym, or to the movies, or just walking in the park. In the gym and the movies, we don’t have to talk. He just provides someone to be around while I sweat it out or get lost in a movie. But being with him is most effective to beat the blues when we talk. He talks me off the emotional ledge, or pushes me over; just depends on which technique he thinks will work at the time.

I still think & clean, or think & work, or even run until I can’t think, on occasion; it just doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but the way things are going, it’s starting to make a comeback. I’m on my way, at least, to an uncluttered home and a better shaped body. And who wouldn’t be cured of the blues by that?