I went on a roller coaster a couple of weekends ago at Coney Island. My free spirited friend promised me it would shake me up a bit, in a good way. You know, dust off the cob webs, make room for new ideas, that kind of thing. Always game for a good “shake up” I picked the kiddie roller coaster. Heyyy, I’m new to this. Baby steps. But it still did the trick. In fact, I screamed so loudly the two pre-teens in front of us felt the need to check in on me afterwards. Well at least I’d like to think they were concerned, I suppose they were mostly curious who sounded like a slaughtered pig on a kiddie ride. That would be me, young ladies.
I hadn’t felt that kind of adrenaline rush in a long time. I walked off that ride so exhilarated! While I was certainly not ready to then tackle the upside down roller coaster I suddenly saw the appeal these rides had.
First of all, it’s totally ridiculous. It’s insane that we can be whipped through the air like that and actually be ok. It reminds us we are ALIVE. It can (literally) shake us out of a fog. It can force us to let go and laugh maniacally!
Second, talk about practicing mindfulness. When you are riding a roller coaster it’s hard to think about anything else. You are present in that moment. Experiencing the terror and excitement of being flung around, but present in it. Not thinking about the bills you have yet to pay or that awkward interaction at work. Nope just in the moment exhilaration.
Third, when you do something that is out of your comfort zone, it’s so satisfying knocking it off the list of fears. In my case, most rides terrify me. So it was (dare I say) powerful, to be able to tackle a fear so quickly. This fear could be addressed, completed and done within less than a minute. Yes there was the time it took to convince me to go on the ride, but once the persuasion was done, it was go time. Conquering fears like that, is contagious. It makes you want to see what else you can overcome. Especially after you get such a rush of endorphins.
My point is, take my friends’ advice and shake things up. It doesn’t have to be at Coney Island, although I recommend it. Whatever your version of the kiddie roller coaster is, go for it. Surprise yourself. But don’t overthink it.
One of the best things I’ve done this year is tell my thoughts to quiet down when an opportunity presents itself. Opportunities are way more interesting than my fears or worries. I’d guess it’s the same for you too.
Take care of YOU.