Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy's personal stories

Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

How to have a good freak out

When you were a child, you knew exactly how to have a good freak out. You might have yelled and cried. You may have stomped your feet or laid down in the middle of a grocery store aisle to get your point across. Not only did your nearest and dearest know that you weren’t happy, many others did too. You’d easily share your feelings and feel better for it. Many of us have left behind the sacred ritual of a good freak out.


Conditioning to hide or control emotions

Gradually, as you grew up, you learned that showing your emotions freely was frowned upon by society (some societies are stricter than others when it comes to ’emotional norms’). You heard the word “No” often as you spread your wings and quickly towed the line to avoid being punished. Yes, your proverbial wings were being clipped day by day. It has become normalised in society to hide your emotions but the consequences on your mental health is startling.

Emotional suppression

When you suppress your emotions for prolonged periods, research shows that your physical and mental health suffers. Evidence also suggests that we feel less close to others, withdraw and suffer from anxiety and/or depression. We are genetically engineered to express our emotions. If this wasn’t the case, we would not have been born with emotional receptors in our brains. It is a natural behaviour yet we are often forced to paste a smile on our face and say, “I’m fine” even when we aren’t.

In order to have a good freak out, it’s important to reject the existing rules that pressure us into avoiding overt emotional expression. It’s unnatural and unhealthy. Of course, a certain amount of decorum is required. We can’t go around knifing people we dislike or ploughing our car into the nasty bosses’ latest sports car edition. What we can do though, is learn to express ourselves, have a good cry and be more in tune with our emotions.

How to have a good freak out

When it comes to an effective freak out, it’s best to do it sober. This way you really are in control of expressing yourself and you gain far more than if you are drunk (and don’t remember any of it later on). Of course, a drunken freak out has it’s benefits and is probably better than no freak out at all.

Have a good cry

Let it all out. Crying is a superb way to reset yourself. Crying has a soothing effect and helps you relax. As this 2016 study explains, crying is primarily an attachment behavior, as it rallies support from the people around us. Crying offers interpersonal or social benefits. Crying also enhances your mood and helps release toxins and stress hormones.

Research has found that in addition to being self-soothing, shedding emotional tears releases oxytocin and endorphins.

These chemicals make people feel good and may also ease both physical and emotional pain. In this way, crying can help reduce pain and promote a sense of well-being.

Bash a pillow (or a similar inanimate object)

Getting your emotions out in a physical way is another way to self-soothe. When we are physically active, it exhausts us and helps us to relax . Physical expressions of emotions allow our bodies to purge stress and feel calmer.

Shout and/or scream

Having a good shout or screaming session is a great stress reliever and part and parcel of having a good freak out. Every day we have to act calmly and control our emotions and the act of letting rip with your vocal chords can feel extremely cathartic. Give it a try! I know I have …worked a charm.

Scribble wildly on paper

You can doodle, scribble indiscriminately or write down what’s on your mind. All of these help you to release the pent up frustrations and get it ‘out of your system’. It isn’t natural for us to never express emotion and the act of expressing yourself externally is essential to reset your equilibrium. Not everyone needs the same level of external expression. Some of us feel okay after a quiet cry at the bottom of the garden, Some of us feel far better after breaking a few pens during a vigorous scribble. Do whatever works for you.

Play loud music

Music has a lot of power. Playing music can help you to free yourself from pent-up emotions. Even better – sing along loudly! It’s an excellent strategy and a wonderful way to have a good freak out.

Dance to release excess energy

If you choose to, you could dance energetically to loud music. It does wonders for your stress levels. I know because I’ve tried it.

The booth line is that it’s really okay to have a good freak out. In fact, for some of us, I think it’s essential for recalibrating. There is no balance anymore. We all have to act as if our lives are perfect and suppress our inner emotions. A good freak out provides a valuable outlet that balances out our emotions. If you enjoy a vigorous sport you may feel less need for a good freak out. Whatever your personal situation, consider a good freak out as a part of your emotional toolkit.

It’s considered taboo in many instances, So I want to confirm that a freak out is absolutely okay, as long as you don’t harm yourself or others. It can reset your emotions and aid in letting go of inner tension. What’s not to like? In fact, I’m off for a pillow bashing session and might just sing along loudly as well…perhaps to Queen’s “I want to break free”.

Mandy X




Photo by Amin Moshrefi on Unsplash