Rage rooms- a global phenomenon- also known as smash rooms or anger rooms, are rooms where people can vent their rage and anger by destroying objects inside the room. People relieve their tension by smashing furniture, machines, housewares, and electronics with baseball bats, crowbars, sledgehammers, and such hands-on weapon they can think of. The hype started when the first rage room was created in Toronto in 2015, with the owner, Stephen Shew claiming to have helped many angry couples and people. However, according to Christie Rizzo, associate professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at Northeastern University, while this may seem like a short-term solution for relieving anger and stress, rage rooms are not really helpful in the long-term solution for anger management.
Rizzo believes this rage room practice may be helpful for healthy people who once in a while want to let loose when they are in a fun mood. However, for people with anger issues, it’s not recommended for them to destroy things even in a controlled environment. She says that it is the thing such people need to do which can only aggravate their anger because it will make them think that instead for thinking for a long term solution to manage their anger they could just visit a rage room and be done with. Though some psychologists assert that expressing anger will only lead to more anger, Rizzo says it is just a possibility that may or may not happen. Even if doesn’t lead to more anger, it may lead to trigger angry bursts when they are at home and might destroy some personal belongings of their partner or ex-partner or their friends or family. The goal of rage rooms should be more about relieving stress in a peaceful environment and less about advocating vengeance.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is the healthiest way to deal with anger issues, says Rizzo. It is a three-step form of talk therapy focusing on thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
“First, you identify your triggers—the people, places, and things that are linked to your angry outbursts. Then you work to frame those things in a different, more helpful way. Finally, you focus on developing coping mechanisms to prevent your anger from escalating from 0 to 100. For example, suppose someone with anger issues goes snooping through their girlfriend’s phone, finds a string of late-night text messages from another man, assumes she is cheating on him, and then gets really upset. In the scenario, we would talk about not snooping—avoiding the trigger altogether—or coming up with other ways of explaining the situation. It could be that the man’s girlfriend is cheating on him, but the texts could also be from a colleague or a longtime friend who wants to catch up. Finally, we would encourage behavior that limits engagement with the trigger, advising him to put the phone down, and, say, go for a run.”
When asked if it is advised that some parents allowing their children to have angry outbursts using foam bats or lightweight objects is correct, Rizzo says it is different for everyone. If one teenager gets calm after beating a pillow, another teen’s anger might be amped-up by the action. It is important to understand that different people have different energy levels. So it is important to connect and communicate at their level to reach a peaceful and rage-less goal.