Wednesday,22 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1356, (10 - 16 August 2017)
Wednesday,22 November, 2017
Issue 1356, (10 - 16 August 2017)

Ahram Weekly

How to release your anger

Mai Samih is invited to an unusual new anger-management facility in Cairo

release your anger
release your anger

When you break something unwanted, especially something made of glass, you may get a mixed feeling of satisfaction and liberty. Every piece of broken glass that hits the floor sounds like part of a tune, a symphony to listen to when you want to feel relaxed.  

In the real world when you get the urge to break things when you are angry you talk yourself out of it so that people don’t think you’re crazy and because you don’t want to pay the bills to replace any broken items.  

But the idea of having a room that resembles your living room, kitchen or workplace where you can break things to let your anger out may still appeal. Developed in the United States where such rooms are called “anger rooms”, the idea is to find an alternative to “taking it out on others when you are having a bad day”.

 An anger room is a stress-release facility that allows people to release their anger and frustrations in a physical way away from public humiliation and mockery, according to an anger room website. There are now many such anger rooms across the US, and in February this year an Egyptian version called “Unleashed” was established in the Al-Tagammou Al-Khamis (Fifth Settlement) district of Cairo.  

Mazen Nasrat, one of the founders of the project, gave more details about it. “I got the idea when I was studying in Canada two years ago. I tried a similar idea called a ‘stress room’ and really liked it. When I came back to Egypt, I wanted to implement the idea in a different way, not only as a form of entertainment but also as a form of therapy,” Nasrat said. It was for this reason that he chose the idea of an anger room since it combines entertainment with a therapeutic side including stress relief.  

“The idea of an anger room is that it is a closed place isolated from the outside world in which a person can empty out any negative charge inside himself in a safe and entertaining way. How many times in life do you have the chance to break something into pieces? It is forbidden to break objects as a form of entertainment or stress relief, but an anger room allows you to do just that,” he said.

He explained how the system works. “When a client comes to the facility, he chooses a package with prices ranging from LE100 to LE200 according to the number and types of objects he wants to break. Then he puts on a protective outfit of a special jacket, helmet, and gloves and enters a room about 16 square metres in size that is lined with an elastic layer that absorbs any collisions.”

The maximum number of clients in any of the six rooms at the facility is three. “The client begins the breaking process in such a way that any glass or metal debris will not hurt him,” Nasrat added.

He explained that the experience could have a positive impact on people’s mental health. “Research has shown that breaking objects can help eliminate stress. People often go through problems that cause stress, and doctors have divided such people into two types, the emotional type who expresses himself and the less emotional type that does not express his feelings,” he said.

The first type can get into trouble as a result, though the second type can suffer more because he tends to trap his feelings inside himself. “But the more he keeps his emotions inside, the more they accumulate and can cause an explosion. This can take the form of emotions like depression or worse psychological problems. We give the people who come to us the chance to release any negative psychological energy they may have, helping them to manage things better,” Nasrat said.

Nasrat said that the anger rooms in his facility are not designed for any specific age range or group of people. “At first we thought the biggest age group that would come to us would be people from 18 to 25 years old, because we thought they would be the ones most likely to accept new ideas, especially a crazy idea like this one. However, the opposite turned out to be the case. Since we started in February, we have had people from a range of different age groups and nationalities,” he said.

People from the Arab countries and Russia have visited the facility, and Nasrat has seen men and women of almost every age. Visitors under the age of 16 are escorted by staff inside the anger rooms, however, he said.

Nasrat added that many clients, especially the Arabs, liked unleashing their feelings in the anger room so much that they wanted one at home. “We have had offers from many Arab people to implement the idea in their countries as well. Some have wanted to see anger rooms in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.”

The rooms also work to recycle materials and generate new job opportunities. “The objects we use for the breakages are all already worn out. We buy them from factories or workshops and then later sell the debris, so many people find work from the idea instead of the objects being simply thrown away,” Nasrat said, adding that the anger rooms themselves are constantly monitored by cameras and equipped with first aid kits.

“We are primarily a place of entertainment and not a therapeutic centre. However, our idea encourages emotional release, so it has an entertainment side and a therapeutic side. The idea of an anger room is taken from abroad, but we wanted to implement it in Egypt in a different way. We wanted to send a message to a society that does not always accept such new ideas easily,” he concluded.

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