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Letting off steam

It is natural that sometimes our emotions build, and can create pressure internally that needs to be released. For example, after doing a lot of revision, many find it helpful to let off steam by doing an activity that makes them feel happy or relaxed, so that focussing so hard on studying doesn’t become overwhelming.

It’s also natural to feel frustrated from time to time, whether that’s because you missed your bus, had an argument with someone, lost something important, or have been having difficulty with your mental health. There are lots of different ways of letting off steam, and while some people find that physical activity such as dancing or boxing helps, others would rather scream into a pillow!

It is important to be able to let off steam in a way that suits you, since keeping your emotions pent up might cause your stress levels to rise - kind of like shaking a bottle of fizzy drink over and over and then when you finally take the lid off it explodes! However, if you feel it’s impossible to relieve this pressure for very long or find yourself in a constant state of anger or distress, then it is important to talk to someone. When letting off steam, consider your surroundings and avoid harming yourself or others – if engaging in harmful activities gives you a sense of release, then this is a sign that you need additional support, rather than trying to cope on your own. You could try speaking to a trusted adult, like a parent or guardian, about how you're feeling and our Youth Wellbeing Directory may help you find local support in your area.


There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.

If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.