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How To Get Off Your Emotional Roller Coaster

A man writing in his journal as he ponders his emotional roller coaster.
PEXELS/Ketut Subiyanto

Living on an emotional roller coaster is not only exhausting, but worse, its preventing you from finding grace in what you do have.

I’ve spent many years struggling with my own emotional roller coaster. The stresses of young adulthood can have that effect on you. But I’m beginning to understand how unnecessary it is. So, for those on an emotional roller coaster of their own, I’d like to share my own perspective with you, in hopes that you might apply my personal discoveries about myself, to your own life.

On Cloud Nine

We know what euphoria feels like. At some point in our lives, we’ve felt that state of extreme happiness. Maybe it was your 15th birthday party, or New Year’s Eve. That kiss under the stars. Maybe it was when you found that perfect apartment after moving to a new city. A Taylor Swift concert, a night at the theme park with your friends, getting an acceptance letter to your dream school, your wedding night. Whatever it was, we can point out the times in our lives when we were in an excited state of euphoria.

Hitting Rock Bottom

We also know what depression feels like, especially if you’re an artist. Your work was rejected by that publisher or record label. Your lover broke up with you, cheated on you at that party. You didn’t get that big job offer, you didn’t get into your dream school. Your bills are piling up. You or someone close to you has been become ill. You lost someone you loved. Or, you just feel lonely.

Our emotions can seem to be binary. We think we need to be in that state of euphoria, where everything is going perfectly. And when it doesn’t, or when that euphoria expires, we hit rock bottom, we fall into depression. When it gets bad enough, that depression turns into a physical sensation. You can feel it in your head. It seems like there’s no way out.

Centering Your Energy

If you don’t feel that extreme happiness, you may feel that the only other option is depression. But this mindset is an illusion.

While your situation is unique, and each life has its own set of challenges, here is what I’d like to share with you—something I learned about myself. Your emotions don’t have to be binary. Your emotions are a complex spectrum. And while it may be tempting to drive yourself from one extreme to the other, it doesn’t have to be that way, nor should it. Because you can get off of the emotional roller coaster.

There is something at the center of the two extremes that will bring you clarity, a power that’s even stronger than the euphoria you waste so much time chasing.

A Stillness

Even the state of happiness is itself a spectrum. Hopefully you understand this sooner than I did, but you do not need to be on cloud nine, 24/7. You do not need to be in a state of euphoria at all hours of the day in order for you to be happy, to be content, and most importantly, to be at peace.

I spent so much of my life chasing that euphoria, that extreme happiness. And if things weren’t perfect, I would spiral into depression. I finally made the choice for myself, that I would stop chasing euphoria. I decided that I don’t need it anymore. I don’t need to feel euphoria to be thankful, to appreciate what I do have.

And just like you don’t need to be on euphoria, you don’t need to keep yourself at rock bottom. You will experience depression in your life. It’s okay to acknowledge your emotions, to feel them. But take the time to deal with your depression and find a healthy way to move forward.

In between that euphoria and that depression, is a stillness that exists in all of us.

Your Time Is Valuable, And So Are You

This choice pulled me out of the depressive state I was in. It brought me to a state of content. And that’s all I ever needed. A calm, centered focus on my goals. I found that I was more at peace. I started to find beauty in what I do have, beauty in an uncertain future.

Yes, I still deal with life’s challenges. Things will never be perfect. But chasing euphoria won’t fix any of that.

If you waste too much time chasing euphoria, sure, you might catch it every once in a while. But once it inevitably expires, you’ll spiral back into depression wondering how you can get back to euphoria. So, I’ll say it again.

You don’t need euphoria to be happy.

You don’t need euphoria to be thankful.

You don’t need euphoria to be at peace.

So, get off the emotional roller coaster and stop chasing it so much.

Feria’s Last Call

Stop chasing euphoria, and it might even begin to find its way toward you. When it does come, when you are back on your cloud nine, cherish it. Be present, live in that moment. Because it’s going to expire, and you need to be aware of that. When it does, let it go. Don’t fall back to rock bottom trying so hard to revive the euphoria. Be thankful you lived it, and return to your calm, centered focus.

Euphoria should be an emotional vacation for you, while that calm, centered focus on your life’s tasks is your heart’s home. And it’s there you’ll find a stillness of inner peace.■

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