Surviving The Emotional Roller Coaster by Sheri Van Dijk

Surviving the Emotional Roller Coaster is a very serious book that is oriented mostly toward troubled teens with serious emotional issues (especially sensitive ones/those dealing with emotional dysregulation). The author doesn’t mince words: this is a book that needs to be attended to thoroughly and with a complete lifestyle change. There are no pretty graphics or pats on the back: it is a thorough examination of the various emotional issues that overwhelm and disrupt life – and meditative/mindfulness practices that can be used to ameliorate or nullify them. Through DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy), the author helps readers get past knee-jerk overreactions and instead focus on logic and insight into the issues they face.


The book breaks down as follows: Introduction; Mindfulness: waking up to your life; What you need to know about your emotions; Slowing down the emotional roller coaster; Leaving the judgments out of it; Dealing with intense emotions; Stop letting your emotions get in the way; Accepting reality; Surviving a crisis without making it worse; The building blocks for positive emotions; Improving the relationships in your life.

Due to the serious nature of the book, the level of writing, and the requirement of self regulation, I feel this is a book best suited for older teens who are already experiencing an emotional crisis/inability to cope. For others, such as kids just entering middle school or who would like to know how to deal with emotional issues a bit better during the turbulent teen period, this might be too heavy. E.g., I chose this book for my 12 year old who is going through puberty and the emotional period this entails but this is well above her reading level and more than what she needs. All the same, I can use the practices of mindfulness with her and guide her into a more gentle future. So yes, there are some good points in here for adults to read.

The crux of the book is about dealing with issues in a non-judgmental fashion and using mindfulness (breathing techniques, clearing the mind, focusing on only one small thing at a time) in order to clear the head and manage the stress. There are small ‘exercises’ to write down thoughts or past situations that were problematic – they an be used as a counterpoint to the discussions and personalize the book.

As can be seen from the chapter list, the book is quite thorough – from making family/friend relationships better to learning to accept that life can be very unfair. For my 12 year old, I found the discussion about self judgement being another form of bullying (in this case, self bullying) very enlightening.

So yes, a very serious and in depth book especially suited for very troubled or sensitive teens who are having difficulty coping with life. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

This entry was posted in ARC, Book Reviews, home schooling, homeschooling, non fiction, nonfiction, parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

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