When some folks feel frustrated, they get massages, listen to soothing music, or take a long walk and reflect. Others take a more aggressive approach: breaking things, cursing, wailing on a punching bag or in some cases, a person.

If you would place yourself in the latter category, a new business may seem attractive to you: Sarah’s Smash Shack in San Diego, owned by former veterinarian Sarah Lavely. Customers come from as far as Los Angeles to pay to smash breakables like plates, glasses, vases and picture frames against the wall, while listening to music of their choice.

From an article on CNNMoney.com:

"The smashing is done in special soundproofed 'break rooms' where customers — outfitted in coveralls, boots, gloves and a helmet — stand behind a chest-high barrier and hurl breakables at a stainless steel-covered wall. All the broken glass is donated to schools and art programs throughout the region.

Ceramic white dinner plates are Lavely’s biggest seller, because they require a strong toss and break violently against the wall. Patrons order from a menu that includes items like The House Special (15 plates in 15 minutes for $45), the Six Shooter (six rapid-fire wine glasses for $12) or the Juggernaut (two large jugs for $12). Value seekers can opt for the Mystery Box: 10 assorted smashables for $25. If you’d like to smash a person, Lavely allows the next best thing — a photo inserted into a very breakable glass frame."

OK, far be it from us to tell you what appropriate methods of stress relief are (we’ll leave that to Dr. Phil). But what happened to “reduce, reuse, recycle?” At a time when Americans are producing more than 250 million tons of waste each year (most of which ends up sitting around in landfills), should we really be paying to waste perfectly good items? Props for donating the broken glass to schools and art programs, but I think we all know the lifespan of a school art project: a few days on the fridge, and then it’s off to the round filing cabinet.

We know that hurling a delicate wine glass towards a steel wall is a tempting offer when dealing with a two-timing significant other. But please try to hold back. Instead, try these eco-friendly options for dealing with stressful situations:

• Lack of government action towards global warming got you fuming mad? You know what they say about the pen being mightier than the sword. Take out that aggression by writing your state senator a strong-worded letter.

• Your boyfriend lied to you … again. Relieve that anger by screaming aloud while in the privacy of your electric, plug-in hybrid.

• Your slob of a roommate makes the New York City subway system look pristine. De-stress by washing out your recyclables and throwing them violently into the bin. Even if they break, you’re only helping the recycling process along.

This article originally appeared in Plenty in October 2008.

Copyright Environ Press 2008

Photo: d0ndy/Flickr

Paying for stress relief: Sarah's Smash Shack
When some folks feel frustrated, they get massages, listen to soothing music, or take a long walk and reflect