Doing this primal, animal-like ritual may help reduce your work stress

There are tons of tips out there on how to reduce stress. From meditation to exercise to a daily glass of wine, but perhaps the simplest one and arguably most effective one has been around since humans came into existence. Letting out a loud and long primal scream may be the way to reduce stress, according to research.

After all, before SoulCycle and bikram yoga-you know, the dark ages-all humans could do at the time to deal with stress was scream really loudly or maybe hit a rock against another rock. A recent Washington Post-UMass Lowell poll found that out of 1,000 randomly selected adults for the survey 19% of the fans indicated they ‘always’ yell at the TV when watching sports. One respondent told the Vancouver Sun, “yelling can seem absolutely ridiculous. But in the moment, it feels so right. It makes everything feel better.” The survey also found that women outnumbered men (62% versus 56%) when it came to “sometimes” yelling at sports on TV.

Letting it all out

Primal screaming as a therapeutic tool was developed by Arthur Yanov in the 1970s. He believed that it was people repressing former traumas that created stress and tension in their present so he encouraged them to regress and relive their traumas, often screaming in the process. His notable patients included John Lennon and Yoko Ono. “For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy,” Yanov wrote.

Now you may not need to have some underlurking deep childhood memory that has been buried in your psyche for decades to reap the benefits of a good scream. That is why developers Yaroslav Ploshko and Alexander Smirnov just launched a VR product called VoxBox based on scream therapy. It uses a cloud of particles appear as smoke to the user. The louder the person screams the more the particles are destroyed and then revealing a lovely image behind the smoke. “We invite the patient to a soundproof room where he puts on VR glasses with the VoxBox program installed. A calming space on the shore of the ocean is covered with dark smoke, which can only be dispelled by crying. A person shouts, and space starts to change: dark background is replaced by light, and when a person is done screaming the screen is completely cleared – patients find themselves on the ocean shore.”

Sounds like a pretty effective way to go find yourself in a calmer state. But if you don’t have special VR glasses you can also try

  1. Getting yourself somewhere you can be alone. This may be a little tricky in your office so consider the stairwell but do warn your coworkers what you are about to do.
  2. Lie down. If you are able to lie down on a yoga mat and try to relax.
  3. Think of what it is that is stressing you out and why it is doing this.
  4. SCREAM. Let it all out! You can also add a pounding fist if you want or maybe just throw your arms up in the air.