Have you ever dreamed of destroying your computer — the one that drives you mad when it comes to doing good work? Or the microwave that does not properly warm up your grated cheese? Or even this watch, which is more of a thingamajig that traps you than the magic thing they promised?
Obviously, you may also want to rightfully destroy for the sake of destroying…
“Anger rooms” designed for us to let off steam
When questioned as to what he finds great about his “anger room,” Steven R. Munoz Reyes, owner of Break Room LA (Los Angeles), explains: “People get to be themselves and release any negative energy that may be holding them down.”
How exactly do we get rid of all these negative vibes, thanks to such a room? Well, by means of a hammer, of course… And a series of objects to smash. The objects can be yours or not — it is up to you to decide. If you are looking for inspiration, a customer, Hilario Huizar, remembers: “My friend brought one of his ex’s pictures…”
Needless to mention that you then feel rather exhausted after such a sports session. And it seems you also experience a deep feeling of relief, judging from customers’ comments posted on the anger room’s Facebook pages. Besides, according to Steven R. Munoz Reyes, it leaves no doubt that “Breaking has helped people, and we know this by the mood/vibe customers come in and leave with.” Reyes even equates it with yoga!
How not to get harmed while being armed?
First of all, you’re not about to get hurt because you cannot get armed as you wish! In fact, you must follow the strict rules defined by the room you go to. Steven R. Munoz Reyes says: “We provide all safety gear from face shields, coveralls, protective vests, latex gloves and protective gloves to all the items you wish to break and with bats, sledgehammers and even crowbars.”
Still, you have to fill out a liability waiver. Indeed, even though protected, you remain likely to hurt yourself, because of the shards of glass for instance. It just so happens that the protection devices you are given do not cover your neck… Some people also report the protective suits are not thick enough to prevent the glass from permeating through them. Thus, improvements are needed in order to better ensure your safety.
Long-term well-being is not part of the game
Moreover, it is of the utmost importance not to think of the “anger rooms” as a therapy. Violence, even against objects, is definitely not a long-term solution, if any kind of solution at all. This is what the French psychologist Hélène Peuziat warns us against. She describes these rooms as sports halls that are beneficial on a short-term basis because of the endorphins (the happiness hormone) the body releases. But this effect is not meant to last. In other words, it should not be used as a substitute for medication or other therapy. “Break Room LA is a place of entertainment and not therapy,” Steven R. Munoz Reyes reminds us.
This is also one of the reasons children are not allowed in these rooms. The psychologist Peuziat makes that point clear: “…raising a child is all about helping him mastering his aggressive impulses so that he manages both to contain his anger and to cool down.” We can thus understand that “anger rooms” are not premises for children, given that they may not be able to differentiate it from reality, (i.e., to consider them only as playful outlets for temporary frustrations). And as Freud stressed, culture, creativity, work, and love life are all ways of sublimating as well as transcending negative impulses (which for Freud include sexual ones).
But if you feel comfortable with the “anger room” concept, you should give it a try! After all, as Hilario Huizar summarizes: “…it’s better to do it in a controlled environment than out in the streets.”
Some more reasons to dare to be in…
What’s more, it is not every day that we are given the opportunity to destroy whatever is around us. “I liked the aspect of not cleaning it up and just raging, I live in an apartment so I wouldn’t be able to do it there,” Huizar details.
In this sense, Break Room LA, and others of the kind, are places where you can break things — literally speaking, of course, but also on a symbolic level, since what you buy is a controlled freedom to break societal norms. Where else can you smash objects without having to repay their cost? And where else can you smash objects without caring about the judgment of others? What’s more, where else can you smash objects without having to deal with their recycling?
Last but not least, most anger rooms are partnered with recycling centers. So, if you want to dump old computer equipment or some school materials — as well as take revenge on them for your past experiences with them — you now know there is a place where you can kill two birds with one stone.