While Gurugram has 'anger rooms', Mumbai wants ‘peace rooms’ in offices - Times of India

When something upsets you at work next time, don't pull your hair out or bang your hand on the keyboard trying to unburden your mental load. Instead, how about walking into a special area in the office where you can fume, rave and throw things about all you like? You'll be forgiven for your 'behaviour' as you're in an anger room. Say hello to this new-age therapeutic tool that lets folks let off steam in a reasonable manner, without any fear of being punished. Such anger rooms or 'rage rooms' are popping up all over the globe and there's a first one in India too, at Gurugram, where one can smash TVs, microwaves, crockery (all junk, of course) and more. In a hyper, stressed-out city like ours, is it high time such cathartic rooms came about?

City mental health experts bat for 'peace rooms' instead

While they agree that therapeutic rooms would work in offices, experts want them minus the idea of breaking things. Says psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty, "There are better, more creative ways to handle anger. The concept may be okay, but such a room should not be a place for anger and destruction. Breaking things to remove anger is a medieval process and may leave one angrier. Companies should be more creative to address issues that cause anger. Instead, why not have a 'peace room' where people can be emotionally nude minus any violence? It could be a place where they can paint, draw run around or even cry alone. Executives who are up all night on chat interfaces or in disturbed relationships tend to be highly irritable. How about a jogging track at the workplace or a gym to help them?" he asks. 

Psychologist Dr Pradnya Jayant Ajinkya also adds, "How you regulate anger is important. Venting out has its upsides and disadvantages. While release leaves the mind feeling lighter, anger rooms seem to encourage violent activity, which is wrong as it can end up as an exhibition of a learned helpless behaviour. Why not create a tranquil room, which offers simpler diversion games like stress balls etc?" There's also something deeper to this. Says clinical psychologist Dr Varkha Chulani, "What is important is learning how to manage our ideologies of how we should or should not behave. An anger room won't empower you and it causes more damage. Instead, develop an internal locus of control. Reconstruct the attitudes that form the basis of emotional upsetness. You may have a special unwind zone or zen room, but you can't be in that 24 hours a day." 

Don't go by the age-old tricks of counting down from 10 or having a glass of cold water. Sometimes, none of these work in volatile situations. Says Udayan Shah, a stock market analyst from Fort. "My work is fast-paced with client demands and keeping track of the market. I can't help getting stressed and annoyed. At that time, all the advice of taking deep breaths or taking a chill pill doesn't work. How often I wish that I could vent out on my own without upsetting anyone else around me."

If you too, find yourself impulsively flying into a rage almost every day, that's not surprising. In a '2017 Global Least and Most Stressed Cities Ranking', Mumbai is at an alarming 138. Any number of factors — from personal issues to security, unemployment, finance woes, traffic, public transport and pollution — act as a trigger to set off fury. And it wreaks havoc if unchecked. Affirms HR manager Makarand Gaikwad from a consultant firm at Mulund. "In Mumbai, one of the biggest workplace issues we deal with is employee dissatisfaction. Any number reasons can cause this — either people can't complete their work, or there are salary issues or even having to deal with a tough boss and management. People often bottle things up, which is unhealthy. So, having such a room at the workplace where you can yell out loud without being scolded, would be of help." 

Adds HR expert NK Ramesh, "We don't even recognise most mental health problems until they have reached a peak, so tools like this might really help. I think such a therapeutic room will help remove frustration and heat off the head if it's done minus breaking things. I know a number of organisations that actually keep punching bags on the premises as a tool to help employees de-stress; in fact, you can even put a photo of the person on the punching bag. Stress is a huge factor for wear and tear at the workplace and it starts right from the moment you leave home. It can occur to anyone, not just corporates. That said, a room that lets you unwind without building up your anger again should be the focus."


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