Have you ever blasted Puccini at full volume in your flat, closed the curtains and danced? Spinning wildly, while the most recognisable lines of the Barber of Seville played over and over again, “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro, Figaro.” Finally, you end up on the floor, breathless and exhausted. Unsure quite what you have done or what the exact mood is you are in. But glad that you did it, because you feel better now. No? Just me, well maybe you should try it sometime.
Or what about going for a run. For the first time in forever, perhaps you’ve never run before, but suddenly something hits you and you can’t stand it any longer. And you walk out of the door and are halfway down the street before the latch has even clicked shut. Perhaps you are still in your work clothes, tie flying over your shoulder and office block disappearing into the background.
You’ll come back; you always do but for a moment you just needed to run. Your feet needed to pound the pavement, and you needed that shortness of breath. You’ll walk back to your starting point, slightly dishevelled maybe but happier than when you left.
Maybe you’ll scream into a pillow, and then realise that is has been a while since you changed your bedsheets. So, you wash them and suddenly the whole house smells of fresh laundry and you feel a lot better about everything.
Or maybe you punch your pillow. The sheer frustration welling up inside you means you relieve it in something soft. Or perhaps you have a punching bag hanging from a wall and so, gloves on, you go out into the garden.
Or you need to swim, faster and harder than you’ve swam before. Anything physical. Like Mr Darcy in 1995 you remove your fencing mask with a new determination, muttering to yourself, “I shall conquer.”
Whatever it is we all have to have ways of ridding ourselves of angst. Especially when we aren’t entirely sure what the source of the angst is. Which is half the point of angst, a sort of unidentified and unfocused sense of anxiety and dread, generally about the whole of human existence. Often it just appears, a week later, an hour later you may know where from, but when it hits, it affects everything.
And what can you do if you aren’t close to a pillow and running out of the door isn’t an option? You have to find other ways of releasing that angst.
Make a playlist of angry songs, songs that speak to your soul right in that moment. You don’t know the true power of the Ting Tings 2008 hit ‘That’s Not My Name’ until you play it ten times in a row because it is doing nothing short of speaking to your soul.
But we don’t always need to dwell on our angst to avoid it. Some suggest listening to upbeat music to escape. Sam said, “Playing cheery ABBA music. It's so perky. It's like a summer holiday.”
When running and screaming need to be combined, Lauren has the solution. She said, “Driving my car and singing/screaming at the top of my lungs, until I’m too exhausted to be angry anymore.”
Chelsea suggested a shower, “Showers are the best kind of therapy for me. Something about the combo of hot water and having personal space to think through my emotions always helps me feel better.”
Those who are religious, found that praying really helped them. Meditation and quiet breathing were also suggested.
And if you need a happy song to cheer you up and inspire you out of your funk is there really anything better than Rusted Root’s ‘Send Me on My Way?’ The answer by the way is no. That wonderfully unintelligible song is perhaps one of the most inspiring and uplifting songs to come out of the 90s.
So be happy, acknowledge your angst and hit it head on.