In a small town in Sweden, at exactly 10pm every night, students stop what they’re doing, open their windows and begin to scream into the night.

I know this because a number of years ago I spent six months living in Uppsala’s Flogsta neighbourhood, and took part in this tradition.

The intent behind the Flogsta Scream is for students to let off steam. It is believed to have started around the 1970s, although no firm date is known. Some say it is to honour the death of a student, who committed suicide around this time as a result of stress.

According to Uppsala University’s website, “the Flogsta Scream is a much needed safety valve for all those who feel that a cry of angst can work wonders for handling the stress and demands of student life.”

These days, the howls can be heard further across the country as the tradition is being followed by other students in university towns.

There are a number of clips on YouTube that can give you an idea of what the Flogsta Scream is like.

I had forgotten about this unique culture until a friend reminded me of it just this week. Upon reflection, at the time, I didn’t quite comprehend the significance and importance of this activity as a way of letting stress out for students.

Reminiscing about the Flogsta Scream got me thinking about ways to release stress. It is timely given that just this week, we recognised World Mental Health Day and in October we celebrate World Mental Health Month. We know students are not the only ones affected by stress and pressure, and recent numbers estimate that a large number of us are suffering from a mental illness at any one time.

So how can we best relieve the stress of our everyday lives?

It’s probably not feasible for us to collectively start screaming out our windows at night but there are many other ways you can blow off steam including doing things you enjoy, exercising, sleeping well and getting support if needed.

For more information on managing stress, you can visit the Beyond Blue or Health Direct websites.