Got rage? Break stuff in the anger room and you’ll feel better

TEMPE – Maybe you’re angry.

Maybe a co-worker let lunch from last week fester in the break room refrigerator.

Maybe a life partner, once again, after the 27th broken promise to buy groceries, acts as if ordering pizza is the same thing as a real dinner.

Maybe a 16-year-old boy is angry his father died.

A new Tempe business provides a few minutes for tense, frustrated and just plain ticked-off people to smash through their anger by taking a bat or a hammer to a glass vase, a TV or a sheet of drywall.

Taylor Boyce said he hasn’t been to therapy in decades but has made several visits to Simply Smashing Rage Release Room, which opened 11 months ago.

“I can explore a little bit and destroy all at the same time,” Boyce said, just before he crushed a wooden train with a bat, swung a golf club at a glass vase and threw plates against a wall.

“It’s a way to release stress and – if this makes sense – you feel lighter. It’s instant gratification for what you have done,” Boyce said.

Rage rooms are rare but are trending in the U.S. and elsewhere, including the Anger Room in Texas and the Wreck Room in the United Kingdom.

Owner Stephen Wilk said the rage room is not meant to replace traditional anger-management therapy, but it can help.

“It allows someone to focus on the moment,” he said. “Being present with the anger, resentment and the stress allows them to use this as an outlet, to let some of it go.”

Customers have ranged from people angry about everyday stresses like work and financial woes to those enduring life changing tragedies, such as the loss of a parent. He said one young customer was dealing with sexual assault.

Two-thirds of his customers are female, Wilk said, adding that men have other outlets to express emotion, like sports.

David Abrams, a Phoenix psychotherapist, said men are given allowance to show anger.

“It’s OK if you are a man, but females are told through society to smile and suppress their emotions,” Abrams said.

Expressing rage does cost, whether through traditional therapy or by breaking a keyboard in an anger room.

The Rage Room’s motto: “Buy it, then break it.”

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