Screams Out Of Frustration

Does letting out a loud scream help a person feel better or does that only make one feel worse? I ask that as a rank amateur because I don’t have any psychology credentials nor have I taken any training to be a life coach. Yet, I still sometimes ask myself the question when life gets stressful and frustrating.

One of my acquaintances often “loses it” when minor annoyances trigger her temper. Walking on eggshells is how people must act in order to avoid her wrath. This type of hair-trigger screaming is at one end of the spectrum. The other extreme is when a person holds back his emotions and allows them to “eat up” his insides. This isn’t healthy either.

I wondered if there is such a thing as a happy medium between these two extremes.

To be clear, I’ve performed some layman-type personal experiments on myself during some of those days when nothing seems to go right. When I’ve let out a few full-volume screams into a pillow, there’s been a feeling of release, but the feelings of frustration seem more intense afterwards. If frustration arose in a social situation, I “swallowed” the tension. The negativity resurfaced as a gut-ache, a neck-ache, or a headache. Clearly, neither technique works for me.

I mentioned these experiments to my friend Andy because he is also an “armchair psychologist”. He explained that he has had similar experiences. He recalled an incident when a truck cut him off in traffic. Andy yelled at the top of his lungs. He caught himself getting angrier to the point that he was on the verge of road rage. Andy said that was a major wake up call for him.

Andy and I compared notes on what we have done to get past intense frustration. It turns out that both of us have discovered deep breathing as the best short-term remedy for extreme situations. There have been a few times when Andy had to repeatedly breathe so deeply that he nearly hyperventilated. I told him that has happened to me a few times, too. I’d rather hyperventilate than have my frustration go nuclear.

Both Andy and I have discovered that the deep breathing approach towards frustrating events must be approached in the same way as we build other good habits. Mindfulness comes to the rescue. When we feel anger and frustration building, we acknowledge the emotions. Then we purposely take some deep breaths. This approach works in nearly every crisis.

On the rare occasion that the frustration is still near boiling, I stop what I’m doing and walk away for a mini-meditation. Whenever I’ve been able to put some physical distance between the aggravating person or situation and myself, the frustration level diminishes. This has worked so well that I cannot remember the last time I’ve felt the need to scream.

Of course, the reader must remember that individual results may vary. Some people may find the need to consult a professional counselor.

The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this thought from actor/musician Henry Rollins: “Do you know why Albert Camus was so prolific? He wrote to keep from screaming.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Health, Meanderings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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