Roller Coaster of Emotions

By: Angelia Schmerr

Life is like a rollercoaster, and every day feels like a ride in the bustling amusement park of emotions. There are moments when you are soaring high, feeling the wind in your hair as excitement rushes through you. These are the moments when laughter echoes like the click-clack of the rollercoaster climbing its peak, right before you flash a big smile at the hidden camera. Then, there are sometimes loop-de-loops and drops you were unaware of, especially if it is your first time riding this roller coaster. Everything feels shaky, and your stomach flips with worry. 

As someone who struggled with anxiety, the loop-de-loops were moments when my mind spiraled into overthinking about and overanalyzing everything going on in my life, creating a bunch of hypothetical scenarios that left my head spinning. The drops, for me, were like free-falling into a bottomless pit of uncertainty, while my heart pounded uncontrollably. Amid constantly experiencing those loop-de-loops and heart-stopping drops, I stumbled upon an unexpected ally—the calming presence of mindfulness.

With each loop, I learned to observe my thoughts without getting entangled in the web of worry. It was a gradual process, like learning to trust the rollercoaster’s twists without fearing the unknown. The more I practiced mindfulness, the more I realized that the loops were just fleeting moments, not permanent detours.

As for the heart-stopping drops, they transformed into opportunities for resilience. I began to see them not as plunges into uncertainty, but as thrilling descents into the realm of personal growth. The bottomless pit became a vast space for self-discovery, and the rapid heartbeat turned into a rhythm propelling me forward.

The rollercoaster of life didn’t lose its ups and downs, but my perspective shifted. I learned to cherish the highs, navigate the lows with grace, and find beauty in the uncharted territories in between.

Tips for navigating the roller coaster:

  • Bring a friend: Anxiety was always an unwanted passenger in the seat next to me on the roller coaster. Filling that seat with a friend by your side can make the journey much more bearable. Share your highs and lows with someone you trust. 
  • Buckle up and take care of yourself: Stay present in the moment and focus on what you can control. Prepare for the unexpected loop-de-loops and dips by embracing self-care. Whether it’s a good book or a calming walk, find what brings you comfort!
  • Mind the safety bar of boundaries: Creating boundaries is a safety measure that puts you in place to prevent your emotional rollercoaster from veering into overwhelming territory. This could involve recognizing when to say “no,” or understanding your emotional limits. Establishing these boundaries does not mean building a fence and shutting yourself off from everyone; it’s about creating a space where you can experience your emotions without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Embrace the thrill: Roller coasters are unpredictable, and so is life! Being flexible and adapting to changes can help you navigate unexpected twists and turns more smoothly.
  • Throw your hands in the air even for the smallest hills: Recognize and celebrate even the smallest achievements. It could be as simple as completing a task or overcoming a minor obstacle in life. Acknowledging your successes, no matter how small they may seem, can boost your confidence.
  • Document the ride: Through journaling, I discovered that expressing my emotions and reviewing my retrospective feelings in a safe space, even if not aloud, provided a blueprint to help me navigate my emotions. If you prefer to talk things out, seeking professional help through therapy also provides a safe space!