Your knuckles are white as they grip the gleaming steel behind the seats in front of you. The world seems to go silent as you approach the apex, save for the slight creaking of the cart on its tracks. Then your stomach rises into your throat as you feel the sensation of being weightless…”But what if the ride goes off the tracks?”…”AHHHHHH!!!!!” Down you go. Your adrenaline rushes and your senses know nothing but ecstatic fun. Riding roller coasters is an experience that we cherish as youth, but when we get older we lose touch with the thrill it brings. Adults seem to need more reasons to do what they love than kids do, so here are the top three reasons for you to visit a roller coaster park near you.
1. It’s a mini vacation
Most people don’t have roller coaster parks in their backyards, so gearing up for a couple hour to full day’s drive involves the same planning that a full vacation entails. And the benefits of most vacations have nothing to do with the length or even the content, but the planning. The New York Times cites a study, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, which showed that “showed that the largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation.” Planning a trip to a roller coaster park is a sure remedy for the blues.
2. It helps you practice mindfulness
There are several studies proclaiming the benefits of mindfulness meditation; it reduces stress and anxiety and even increases immune function. Mindfulness meditation is different from other forms in that the only goal is to be fully and unconditionally present to the feelings and surrounding of the moment. You might be wondering what this has to do with roller coaster rides, so consider this: Can you imagine thinking of your boss or relationship problems at the zenith of a ride that will send you into a free-fall plummet of 450 feet? That is the very definition of mindfulness.
3. It’s a reality check
Life is not just about meeting deadlines and producing for our companies; it’s supposed to be fun too. But in the daily grind of being an adult, we tend to lose track of anything outside our hamster wheels. The importance of playing has been studied by primal living experts, and according to Mark Sisson, author of Primal Blueprint, “Primal living shows us that the optional stuff like play isn’t really optional. When we embrace play, we claim a better quality of life for ourselves. We decrease stress. We connect better with those around us. We get out more and get more out of what we do. We find more fun and maybe even meaning.”
When you strap into a roller coaster that makes grown men squeal with terror and delight, fun and play finds its way back on the map. Once you’re done with a day at Six Flags, you’ll be looking for more fun wherever you can; you’ll be more engaged; and you’ll remember that work isn’t life.