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THE INC. LIFE

This Business Lets You Break Everything Around You (and Might Even Cure Your Stress Too)

Smashing keyboards and printers with a sledgehammer seems like an entertaining way to spend an hour. One psychologist says it might even be good for your mental health, too.

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BY Brit Morse - 17 Jul 2018

This Business Lets You Break Everything Around You (and Might Even Cure Your Stress Too)

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Demolition rooms--facilities that, for a fee, let you smash all manner of items with baseball bats, sledgehammers, and other implements--recently have popped up in locations across the U.S. Taking the business end of a Louisville Slugger to some old office equipment has obvious appeal as a lighthearted activity with friends or a date.

Others view demolition rooms more seriously, as a way to break through some pent-up tension. But are they really an effective method for relieving stress?

To answer that question, in a new Inc. video staffers Chris Beier and Kevin Ryan headed over to The Wrecking Club to try the experience for themselves. Located in New York City, The Wrecking Club offers sessions starting at $25 for 15 minutes, ranging up to $245 depending on the length of time, number of people, and amount of items you want to destroy.

After 30 minutes of smashing ceramics, a padded mannequin, and a particularly sinister hard drive, the two shared their thoughts. "More than anything I feel fired up," Ryan says. "Like a football player or wrestler feels before stepping into the ring."

"I feel like I released something," Beier says. "I don't know what it is, but I got it out."

According to Dr. Melissa VanderKaay Tomasulo, associate professor of psychology at St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont, the effects the pair felt could, in fact, have psychological benefits. "I think about the fight or flight response," she says. "In an acute stressful situation, our amygdala, the emotional area of the brain, has the most primal instinct. For some it might be a way to get out stress and anxiety that's inside of you."

Still, VanderKaay has hesitations about relying too heavily on demolition rooms. "If the individual is prone to violent tendencies, they could translate this behavior to their everyday life because they're doing this often," she says, adding that she'd generally recommend more positive methods of releasing stress such as meditation or yoga.

"We do have people say it's helpful," says Tom Daly, founder and owner of The Wrecking Club. "They'll come in here and say they've had a rough week." But he agrees that ultimately it's just for fun.

Whether it's a serious stress treatment or not, it sure looks like blast. Just don't make a habit of it.

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