When you’re stressed, you might feel like you’re about to explode.
Most stress management strategies are tailored toward soothing the nervous system, alleviating anxiety and cultivating a deep sense of calm within the body.
But what if you did the complete opposite and just gave in to a loud, ear-splitting scream?
It turns out that screaming may actually help you get rid of stress faster. While psychologists know crying is a wonderful, natural way to alleviate stress, emerging studies show that screaming and yelling may also help people.
When you scream, your body releases tension – literally. So many of us live our daily lives in a state of repression, and many coping mechanisms are only a way to transfer that repression into another source.
While certain acts like physical exercise, kickboxing and yoga can be a good source of stress relief, sometimes people need a way to tap into their mind and truly unleash what’s lurking beneath the surface.
Screaming does more than just let out painful emotions; it’s a powerful, emotional act of release that can mean dozens of different things ranging from fear to anger.
Children are told from a very early age that they need to control themselves and stop screaming whenever they’re angry or upset.
While emotional regulation does need to be instilled during childhood, there are healthy ways to scream that don’t indicate a lack of control or self-awareness. In fact, screaming can be the complete opposite.
It’s important to establish the fact that screaming to relieve stress is not the same thing as giving into anger or impulse; you should not lash out at others or yell insensibly every time you feel irritated or overwhelmed.
The purpose of stress-directed scream therapy is to take control over emotional turbulence and let go in a regulated, healthy way.
This means you should find the right place and time to think about what’s bothering you before unleashing an earth-shattering scream (preferably into a pillow or somewhere that won’t cause anyone alarm).
Scream Therapy for Stress
You may not think screaming is a very effective way to cope with stress, but it actually has therapeutic applications.
Psychotherapist Arthur Janov developed primal therapy in the 1960s; a major component of this type of therapy is “the primal scream,” which was also the title of a book Janov published in 1970.
Also known today as primal scream therapy, this method encourages people to release stress and pent up feelings of anger, sadness and frustration by letting out uncontrolled, unfiltered and raw screams.
According to Janov, all adult problems, including depression and other forms of mental illness, result from early childhood traumas and experiences that ultimately shaped them into who they are today.
While your current stress may have obvious sources, how you process and internalize stress is largely shaped by how you were raised.
Many people who are perfectionists are highly stressed on a daily basis; their necessity to achieve and succeed all the time causes them to fixate on minor details and often ignore their brain’s cue to step back and find reprieve.
This could be the result of an achievement-oriented childhood, one where the child was taught that the best way to receive validation and praise from their parents was to earn high grades and awards that they deemed successful.
Although many people will agree that screaming makes them feel better, no one should take all of Janlov’s theory as authoritative.
He believed that primal screaming could “cure” things like depression, alcoholism and even homosexuality; today, we know that the latter is not a mental illness and the other two require a much more comprehensive treatment than just shouting into the void.
Scream Box Stress Relief
Having a good scream might sound amazing right about now, but you can’t just start yelling in the middle of your office or even your house.
Because people do interpret screaming as a cry for help in most cases, you’ll have to make sure that anyone around you is aware of why you’re screaming before you do.
You can also try scream therapy by investing in a scream box.
Scream boxes are designed to silence or reduce the volume of a scream so it doesn’t disturb your neighbors or anyone in the surrounding area. With a typical scream box, your yelling can be reduced to the sound of a regular speaking voice.
You should exercise caution when you use one or engage in any type of scream therapy so as to not rupture your vocal cords.
Scream box stress relief can be useful, but you shouldn’t rely on it daily. Instead, consider it a good way to let go of pent up emotion, establish a healthy base and start to work toward preventive stress care.