De-Stress by Screaming into the Icelandic Wilderness — Through Your Phone

screaming into icelandic wilderness

This year has been a lot… and its only July. Between the pandemic, racial injustice, protests, riots, Australia forest fires (did you even remember that that happened?) and many personal issues that arose as a result, it’s enough to make anyone want to scream into the void. Or at least scream into the wide-open, mountainous terrain of Iceland

Introducing the Web app that records your frustrated scream and broadcasts it from speakers in various areas of the Icelandic wilderness. The campaign was a collaboration between the country’s government and private establishments under the group Promote Iceland. They aim is to promote Iceland in foreign markets and improve economic growth through exports. This Web app provides a little at-home “scream therapy” with the beautiful nature shots to calm you and remind of all the country has to offer. [1] 

Scream Your Frustrations into Iceland 

The main webpage explains: You’ve been through a lot this year and it looks like you need the perfect place to let your frustrations out. Somewhere big, vast and untouched. It looks like you need Iceland. Record your scream and we’ll release it in Iceland’s beautiful, wide-open spaces. And when you’re ready, come let it out for real. You’ll feel better, we promise. 

You can choose to broadcast your recording to any of the seven stunning locations. 

The site also provides some tips to get the most out of your “scream therapy session” according to Zoë Aston, MSC, a therapist a mental health consultant, as well as recordings of past users all over the worlds, from Brooklyn to London to Munich. You can also go on a little virtual tour to find your favorite part of Iceland.  

Read: Forest Bathing: A Retreat to Nature Can Boost Immunity and Mood

Traveling to Iceland Today 

Iceland’s borders are open for tourists currently. Due to the country’s low population density, the authorities were able to contain COVID-19 before it spread too rapidly. [2] As of July 21, there are zero people in the hospital or intensive care due to the disease and 1,821 of their 1,839 confirmed cases have recovered. Pools and gyms opened while bars and restaurants have a curfew of 11 pm. Schools and workplaces are operating as usual with distancing and hygiene regulation. As of June 15, travelers to Iceland could opt between being tested for COVID-19 at the airport (paying out of pocket) or quarantining for 14 days. [3] 

Read: Moms Of 3 Are More Stressed Than Those With Any Other Number Of Children

The Benefits and Controversies of Primal “Scream” Therapy 

Primal therapy was developed by Arthur Janov, a Californian psychotherapist, and he believed it could cure almost anything from depression to asthma, epilepsy to ulcers. His theories were first published in his book The Primal Scream in 1970. There he explained that all adult neurosis is due to repressed early-childhood trauma, which he also called “primal pain.” This could bring on a host of disorders like heart disease, stuttering, drug addiction, high blood pressure, etc.  

To cure primal pain, Dr. Janov believed the patients needed to return those distressing memories and confront those emotions.  

The Boston Globe wrote: “He has equipped his therapy chambers with an array of nursery props — teddy bears, cribs, playpens, dolls, football helmets, baby rattles, security blankets — all to help adults turn the clock back.” 

Screaming was not the goal but a common reaction from the patients as they work through these memories. “Scream therapy” is bit of a misnomer for Dr. Janov’s theories.  

“Primal therapy is not just making people scream,” Dr. Janov wrote on the website of the Janov Primal Center. “It was never ‘screaming’ therapy.” 

Primal therapy was met with many naysayers and skeptics. There seemed to be little proof of the long-term emotional relief of the treatment, and many were wary of the hyperbolic-sounding claims to heal almost anything. That didn’t stop from the Primal Institute from receiving hundreds of prospective clients. 

Today primal therapy has been discredited by many establishments, but many people still see the value in screaming.  

Perhaps they are not trying to shed repressed childhood memories, but screaming into a pillow or to an open sky can help relieve bent up frustration. So many of us have felt better about a situation after crying and “letting it all out,” or even singing at the top of our lungs. The science behind the catharsis of screaming is inconclusive. So there may not be any lasting benefits of shrieking into a pillow, but if it helps calm you in the moment, there’s no reason not to give it a try. 

While you’re at it, try screaming out to the Icelandic wilderness from the comfort of your own home. Of course, screaming into a Web app doesn’t count as a real therapy session. If you need mental health support, we encourage you to seek professional help.

Keep Reading: Stress Can Cause a Cardiac Event that Resembles a Heart Attack

[1] “App Lets You Destress By Screaming Into Icelandic Wilderness.” Emily Alfin Johnson. NPR. July 17, 2020 

[2] “Response to COVID-19 in Iceland.” Ministry of Health, Ministry of Industries and Innovation, Ministry of Justice, Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Government of Iceland. March 09, 2020 

[3] “What’s the Status of COVID-19 in Iceland?” Iceland Review. July 20, 2020 

[4] “Arthur Janov, 93, Dies; Psychologist Caught World’s Attention With ‘Primal Scream’” Margalit Fox. New York Times. October 2, 2017 

[5] “This is Your Brain on Screaming.” Rafi Letzter. Inverse. August 10, 2017 

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