Stressed Out and Need to Vent? Join the Tantrum Club
Keep Calm and Carry On or channel your inner bitch with a bat? A new club provides a safe space for women to let rip.
The last time I blew up was with my elderly neighbour over the recycling. She told me off for putting the bags out early and I lost it, fed up with having to justify myself and also angry that she never has a positive word to say when she sees me. I don't close the front door properly or hoover the hallway enough. Usually I bite my tongue but not this time and the force of my anger took me by surprise.
We live in a Keep Calm and Carry On culture - queue up, don't complain and get on with it. So it's refreshing to hear about a new approach to stress management, which encourages you to get physical and vent. My 7-year-old does this on a daily basis and no one bats an eyelid but where can I go to have a proper rant and smash something up? We look down on people who lose control in public yet it's important to feel emotion and not repress it - or anger can turn into depression.
Tantrum Club launched earlier this year at the Vitality Show and went down a storm. Its founder, Adele Theron, is a change management specialist and author of Naked Divorce - a 21-day programme for women that came out of her own painful divorce in 2009. She found counselling slow and not geared towards expressing emotion in a healthy way - well it's not the done thing to scream at your therapist is it? She wanted to find faster ways for people to heal and express their emotions - wrecking her kitchen provided that outlet and got her thinking.
"There's very little room in society to have emotional 'expression' without being considered a nutter, but it's key to healing," she says. "We have experts writing and talking about emotions rather than feeling them and we tend to intellectualise our approach.
"I was so furious and I didn't know how to process it. Therapists I went to see were irritating and invalidating of my emotions. It felt like they had no idea what they were doing. I realised that not many people are allowed to express their emotions in sessions and it's been a big validation that others feel the same way."
The ethos behind Tantrum Club is that we need to express our emotions (energy in motion) to process them. The brain and rational mind cannot control them. Over time, negative energy creates changes in the body at a cellular level and can cause dis-ease. It's thought that cells regenerate with stored memories - check out the research into cellular healing by Deepak Chopra and Candace Pert here. Studies in post traumatic stress units have found that the process of expressing anger can help us move on from trauma but this isn't being filtered down to therapists. If a therapist is terrified of getting angry and talking clients out of it then the message is counter-productive.
Adele's campaign is to get the message out there that it's important to feel strong emotions and find a way of expressing them. Don't take your anger out on people but process it and get it out - either through a club session or find other ways to express it - take yourself off into the woods if necessary.
So what happens at Tantrum Club?
You shake it out to African tribal drumming music, rant and wail into an imaginary bucket, blow up balloons, scrawl insults on them and then pop them. Then you grab a baseball bat and beat the hell out of the bean bags... "It's a fun, healthy release. Women either end up in fits of giggles or tears and then it shifts into more complex emotions. People feel so much better. We're also running some clubs for teens and have had feedback from mums that their teenagers are less moody."
Keep Calm and Carry On? Not likely.
"Tantrum Club gives people a space to explode. Our motto is bring it on: more anger".