Do you ever feel like you’re so full of stress or frustration or fear that you’re about to explode? Or maybe you’ve been slogging along for far too long with low-grade anxiety or resentment or grief on your back? Sounds like you, m’dear, need to be introduced to the adult temper tantrum.
I’m serious! Have you noticed how little kids get super-duper-upset by something, erupt into a major tantrum, and then afterwards carry on without a care in the world? I know, I know…as adults it’s probably not considerate or wise to pull a hissy fit with your coworkers or throw a conniption in the grocery aisle, but finding a safe space to lose it on a regular basis can be one of the kindest things you can do for yourself and the world around you.
You see, I’m a big believer that we need to create tangible, physical releases for our emotional pain — from overwhelm to sorrow, rage to fatigue. That’s because our emotions precipitate actual physiological changes in our bodies. So, if we want to make an emotional shift, it’s not enough to solely work on changing our thoughts…we often need to change our body. Which means we need a form of physical catharsis (which basically means connecting to and physically moving energy out of your body) that we can consciously do in a safe (for yourself and others) way.
Which brings us to the simple but oh-so-effective conscious adult temper tantrum. This is how it goes:
1. Find a private space
2. Put on a high-octane song (punk, techno, heavy metal, rap…the more aggressive, the better)
3. Tune into the feelings that are dogging you
4. Start stomping, shaking, kicking, or screaming them out . That’s right…go full-on LOCO! Think of the feeling as a toxic substance in your body and weighing you down and start shaking it the hell out of you and off of you. Go hard for at least two minutes.
If you’re in a more public setting or in a scenario where you can’t afford to look CRAZY, well just duck into a bathroom for a slightly quieter tantrum. Also, you can make the adult temper tantrum a regular pressure relief valve by setting your phone alarm for once a day and doing a 15-second stomp out when the alarm goes off. You would be amazed at the huge release such a quick action can yield. As Joseph Campbell says: “The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”
Now, go forth and throw that tantrum! Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy my own little release…giggling over the image of you letting your fussy four-year old self take over for a couple of minutes today.
“Yes, honey…Just squeeze your rage up into a bitter little ball and release it at an appropriate time, like that day I hit the referee with the whiskey bottle.” – Dan Castellaneta
(What the Adult Temper Tantrum helps you to avoid)