Do you ever… just wanna scream as loud as humanly possible and then go about your day? Well, same. In the year of our Lord 2020 (aka the offspring of Loki and Hades), screaming seems like the most accurate way of expressing our frustration and ~angst~.
You may want to scream because you live in an apartment where your roommates refuse to do their own dishes. Or because you moved back to live with your parents, who have started to treat you as if you’re a high schooler again. But in this tense climate, screaming without a care will probably elevate stress rather than alleviate it.
Case in point: My friend decided she needed to scream in early May and did so, thinking she was alone, but she wasn’t. Her mom came barreling into the room, also panic-screaming, which lead to them arguing. If that’s what you’re afraid of, well, that’s valid!
The obvious downside to primal screaming is that hearing a human scream triggers a bit of a panic response in other humans. In fact, many therapists have thoroughly suggested that screaming at someone is inappropriate and will only increase stress levels, as screaming is often associated with anger or fear. So maybe don’t yell at someone’s kid at the park while you’re on a socially distant date. It’s not the move. But if you’re longing to belt it out, this is the article for you.
We’re here to talk about screaming thoughtfully. Here’s a list, from best to worst, of ways to scream without causing alarm.
In the bath
Once the water is warm and before you throw in a luxe bath bomb, dip your head under water and just scream. Water will muffle the screams and any other kind of activity you want to do in the tub after. 😉
When a loud train passes by
Talia Moore, 23, says her favorite time to scream “is when a subway train is passing by.” She owns up to the fact that she got this idea from “The Bold Type.”
In the pilot episode, the three main characters are longing for a good scream (we get it — that’s why we’re here). So they go to the subway in fancy dresses (I don’t wanna spoil too much, so I won’t say why) and scream as the train passes by. It looks so gratifying.
If you live near isolated tracks, yay! But if you’re in a metro area, go to the train during a less-trafficked time to let it out! (Make sure to wear a mask and wait until no one is near you so you can keep your particles to yourself.)
In the woods or on an isolated hike
Nature was a common suggestion. Not everyone has trains passing by them every 4 to 20 minutes, but some of y’all are lucky enough to live near cornfields or woods. Bring a friend and a flashlight (if you’re going at night) and be careful. Don’t get into some weird “Blair Witch” stuff, y’all.
There’s a whole philosophical question about not hearing trees fall in the woods, so if no one can hear you, surely no one was disturbed.
Be creative with noises
Something deeply depressing about COVID is that all these yearly wolf howl events (yes, when humans go into nature to howl with wolves) have been canceled. But that doesn’t mean you can’t howl at the moon. Maybe bring a dog with you so it seems like you’re bonding with them.
A 2015 study suggests that when screams sound less primal in nature, they’ll be less likely to scare people — people might just be weirded out. In any case, absolutely 100 percent sign me up for the first 2021 howling trip.
Start a heavy metal band
Kim Kelly, freelance journalist and former heavy metal editor at VICE, suggests starting your own heavy metal band. With all of us stuck at home, I can imagine the extra screaming might annoy your neighbors, but I don’t think it would ~scare~ them. Just keep it to waking hours and not every day.
Watch a horror movie
Since Halloween is around the corner, there will be plenty of horror movies coming out / on TV / available on whatever streaming service you’ve stolen from your parents.
Take this opportunity to pick one that seems like it has a lot of jump scares and just let your body react naturally. No one can really judge you if you scream your ass off while watching something terrifying.
Scream in Iceland
You might be wondering what I could possibly mean, since you can’t travel to Iceland right now due to COVID. Luckily, this website exists. You can record yourself screaming, and it will be “released” in Iceland. Or you can log on to listen to all the other ways people are letting it out. Trust us — both options are a lot of fun.
Scream into a pillow
Screaming into a pillow is simply unoriginal. There’s nothing wrong with it, per se, but we’ve got other options now. Let’s use them! Plus, I did this often during my angsty teenage years, and my parents totally could hear me throwing a fit in my room.
Scream at the park
In the daytime, there are too many pedestrians who will certainly be afraid to witness whatever you’re getting yourself into. At night, it’s too likely someone will call the cops, thinking you’re being murdered (or you’re doing the murdering). Do not scream at the park!
Just as a baby uses a high-pitched wail to express their irritation or hunger or exhaustion, so do we as actual human adults. It could be journaling, meditation, exercise, or art therapy that helps you release emotional expressions. But depending on your existing relationship with anger, these classic therapies, or stressful situations, not being able to scream could feel more like emotional repression than admirable self-control.
While there aren’t concrete studies on why primal screaming is (or isn’t) therapeutic, anyone who’s been on a roller coaster, jumped from a high vantage point, or been VERY surprised knows that screaming can give a nice rush of release.
Screaming isn’t a cure-all, but it can help you get some of that internal bubbling rage out. Once you’ve felt your anger (which is perfectly OK, by the way), maybe consider therapy (another healthy emotional outlet).
You’ve probably found even more reasons to scream since starting this article. I feel you. This year is taking it out of me too. When you feel that way, it’s really important to express it (in a way that doesn’t harm you or others). And screaming is a good way to quickly do that and move on with your life in the way you need to.
If you do scream and feel self-conscious, remember: Screaming is normal! We do it all the time — when we see a cockroach, when we drop a glass, when our favorite sports team loses a game. And if all else fails, I won’t judge you if you have to resort to the teenage fave of screaming into your pillow.
Reina Sultan (she/her) is a Lebanese-American Muslim woman working on gender and conflict issues at her nine-to-five. Her work can also be found in Huffington Post, Rewire.News, Wear Your Voice Mag, and Rantt. Follow @SultanReina on Twitter for endless hot takes and photos of her extremely cute cats.