Have you ever been so angry that you wanted to smash something? You wouldn't be alone. Hundreds of people want to do the same. Entrepreneur Donna Alexander capitalized on this trend in 2011 with her novel idea: the anger room (also known as the 'rage room').
Anger / Rage Rooms
For a mere $25, you can take a weapon and break as many things as you want. Participants can choose bats, golf clubs, and pipes to destroy dishes, lamps, printers, plates, and other items. Plus, it only usually takes a few minutes.
According to Alexander, most people only last about two or three minutes. She says she offers up to 25 minutes, but that nobody has gone for that long.
The business started out as five-minute sessions for $5 in her garage. The room's popularity grew thanks to word-of-mouth, and Alexander kept relocating to larger spaces. It's become a big hit in Dallas, Texas with people who need to vent their frustrations.
Most people have a lot of bottled up stress in their daily lives - terrible bosses, long commutes, faulty technology, student loans, marital problems - the list goes on. Alexander said the service was especially popular during holidays and elections. She made sure to stock the much-requested Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton mannequins (come on, that's pretty funny...)
However, any civilized adult can't just throw a temper tantrum in public lest you want to be remembered like Bob Knight. Someone might slam their fist on the desk or hit a wall, but these small acts hardly feel satisfying. Letting loose your inner rage can make a significant difference.
Science Support it, Too
It might seem unhealthy at first, but so is bottling up anger. One meta-analysis of 22 studies and over 6,000 subjects found that repressing emotions led to greater stress and anxiety. Patients who bottled their feelings saw increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol.
Some psychologists worry that an anger room might reinforce bad habits and that people should seek healthier alternatives such as meditation or exercise. It's true that smashing objects isn't as healthy as going for a run, but one can't deny how useful it is to blow off steam. Just make sure that breaking things isn't your go-to option every time you feel frustrated.
Pent-up rage isn't something that can always be resolved rationally. Sometimes you need to let it all out.
Alexander says she never sees people leave angrier than they came. She says that sometimes people need a safe space to release their emotions without fear of being judged.
So, get out there and go break something. Your brain will thank you for it.