As someone who struggles with anxiety, I used to be a huge fan of meditation: I breathed in, I breathed out. While this did help me find some measure of inner peace, I recently discovered a much more effective way to dissipate tension: straight-up screaming. Now, I breathe in, I breathe out, and I release a loud, blood-curdling scream. I feel better than ever.
The second I stopped meditating and started screaming, I could feel myself growing happier, getting stronger, and yelling. I no longer had the attachment to negative thoughts that came from trying to accept and release them. Instead I simply yelled them away. It has been very therapeutic.
The important part in any mindfulness training is daily practice. And let me tell you, I can feel a real difference on the days I don’t scream. Each morning I wake up and scream for 15-30 minutes. Then, I carry that energy with me for the rest of the day. When I encountered a difficult situation, I used to take a few deep breaths, visualize a peaceful beach, and repeat my soothing mantra. Now when things gets bungled at work, I lock myself in the HVAC room and scream until my hands feel numb. This is a way more effective stress-relieving technique, and bonus: No one can even hear me!
The great part of screaming is that you can do it anywhere. I can scream in the middle of the street, on a crowded subway, during a meeting, or on a conference call (“We must be picking up radio static!”). If it’s humid out, I scream up at the sky and at the beads of sweat on my body. Every time a thought passes through my mind that I don’t like, I watch that thought pass by as I scream at it. I can feel the tension releasing from my body and the strangers’ looks that say, “There goes one zen lady!”
Before screaming, my life felt chaotic. I didn’t feel like I had control over my job, my relationships, or the people around me. After all, balancing yourself on the inside does nothing to change people’s behavior or your life’s circumstances. But when you start screaming, you can control everything around you. Instantly you have more space, since people know you deserve it. You can curate the life you want by simply screaming at the top of your lungs. And boy, I wish I’d known it sooner.
When I had arguments in the past, I would get frustrated. I would have trouble viewing my argument as valid, and I would consider my position from several different angles. I would listen to what another person was saying even if it made me angry. Now whenever I have an argument, I just start screaming. And I’ve never felt smarter or more in control.
But the best part of screaming? My problems don’t feel so huge anymore. In fact, my problems don’t feel like my problems at all. They feel like someone else’s problems. Usually whoever is around me while I’m screaming.
There are even more benefits: I’ll never be fired from my job. Everyone at work respects me too much as the centered person I am now. If there isn’t a free seat during a staff meeting, someone offers me theirs. Sometimes even when there are free seats, I’ll be offered a whole bunch of seats. Sometimes everyone will huddle in the corner, watching me, focused on my every tranquil move. I don’t have to repeat myself in meetings anymore. I simply scream my ideas and everyone listens, wondering how to achieve the same purpose.
I’m not afraid of my what my mom will say to me anymore, about my life, my relationships, or the money I still owe her. She knows I am living my truth.
And the biggest life change of all—I’m getting married! Normally I would sabotage my relationships before they got to a level of commitment. But the day I scream-proposed, I knew I made the right choice. Watching my fiancé scream “yes” while tears streamed down his cheeks was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.
After just a few months, I can truly say that screaming has changed my life. I know I have a long way to go, it takes years to scream at the level of Naomi Campbell or Gordon Ramsey, but I’m getting there.