Who doesn’t enjoy a good venting session?
We get to express ourselves and release the wound up energy.
We feel better right after and just assume that venting is good for us.
But do we ever pause and ask ourselves, is venting healthy?
Is venting good for us?
I am going to attempt to convince you that venting is actually very harmful to you and to the people you are venting to.
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Psychology Agrees – Venting Is Not Good For Us
Venting every feeling isn’t mature. Learning to deal with uncomfortable and unpleasant feelings is an important aspect of maturity. – Laura Schlessinger
Somehow we have accepted the false fact that venting is healthy for us as a conventional truth and no one ever questions that.
Long term psychological studies have shown that complaining rewires our brains.
Venting creates a path of negativity in our brains and makes it easier for our thoughts to travel in a negative direction in the future.
When we engage in venting and voice our negative feelings, it does not make them go away.
In fact, the opposite is true, complaining about it just makes us feel worse.
Venting keeps us stuck in the victim mentality and as victims we are powerless to change the stress causing situation.
Why Isn’t Venting Healthy?
“[It is easier] to quell emotion than to incur the consequences of venting it.” – George Eliot
1. Venting simply keeps negative events stuck in our minds for longer. It’s hard to forget about something annoying while you are focused on it by retelling it or complaining about it.
2. Bad energy is contagious. By venting to another person, you risk dragging that innocent person into a negative situation. By listening to you venting, others will most likely feel worse.
3. When you choose to vent, you choose to remain in the victim mode. When you decided to be the victim in life, you do not have much control to do anything about it.
In short, not only does venting make you feel worse about the situation you are vending about but it also makes others feel worse and often it literary makes the situation you are complaining about worse by spreading drama, gloom, and negativity.
By engaging in venting activities our stress and anger is increased instead of being released as we were hoping.
Venting keeps us stuck in the negativity.
Think about it for a second.
You had a rough day, your boss was really mean to you and it took a lot of effort to just get through the day.
But the day is over now.
It’s well past 5 pm and you are meeting with your friends to relax.
And you start venting.
Not only are you going to re-live the whole day again through your venting but you will also pull your friend into the negativity.
Now your friend are re-living your horrible day with you.
When you first look at it, venting seems to make you feel better. But research shows that verbalizing our frustrations and anger does not make it go away – instead it intensifies it and makes us feel worse.
I’ve been there.
For years, I believed that venting is necessary.
I also believed that it made me feel better.
But, if I’m truly honest with myself, it did not make me feel better.
It made me feel worse by intensifying those feelings that I was just venting about.
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What To Do Instead Of Venting
“Scores of studies have shown that venting doesn’t soothe anger; it fuels it.” – Susan Cain
If you are used to venting and using it as a method to deal with stress, it will take some time and effort to change the habit.
But this would be very well spent time and effort as you would be investing in your future. There are many other things that you can do instead of venting but to break the habit, it’s not going to be easy at first.
Step one is to understand that venting is harmful to you and other people and wanting to change your approach.
If you try to do other things instead of venting, that will be much more healing in the long run.
1. Give it time to cool off – give it time, take a break, don’t think about it, occupy you mind and your thoughts with something else. Give it some time to cool off.
2. Regain the correct perspective – challenge your self to regain a correct perspective. When we are upset or stressed our perception of the situation is skewed. Work on regaining the correct perception.
3. Express your feelings in positive ways – you should not suppress your feelings but instead of venting you can find positive ways to express them. Paint, plant a garden, go for a walk, write a story are great examples of positive expression of your feelings.
4. Look for humor in the triggering situation – if you can find humor in the stressful situation or circumstance, you won’t have the need to vent.
5. Shift your focus to gratitude – instead of venting, shift your focus and make a list of things that you are grateful for
6. Try to see things from other perspectives – do a little role-playing. Put yourself in other people’s shoes and try to imagine the situation from someone else s perspective
7. Practice other stress relieving habits – exercising, meditating, spending time in the nature also all great stress relieving activities
8. Practice your problem solving skills and look for solutions – instead of venting and being stuck in a victim mode, think in terms of problem solving. What can be done to fix the situation? What adjustments can be made to make it better?
9. Distract yourself – read a book, write a story, do something that will distract you from wanting to vent to your friends and family
“I feel a real need to observe a level of propriety in what I’m handing out. Instead of me just venting or spilling my guts, I’ve got to consider how it’s going to affect people. How it’s going to affect me, as well. Because it’s like a cycle.” – Eric Clapton
I hope I have been able to convince you that venting is very harmful to you and other people that are participating in your venting sessions.
I get it, it truly feels like it makes you feel better.
You feel like you have a support and understanding of others. But unfortunately, it just makes it worst for everyone as you and others are stuck in the negative energy.
If you have the habit of venting on a regular basis, I strongly urge you to try to eliminate that.
I know how it is, I went through it.
There was a transition time when I would call my friends and I had no idea what to talk about. And that’s when I realized that most of our conversations were about venting. Either doing the venting, or listening to other people vent.
It is a tough transition, but I promise you it’s so worth it.
Your new relationships with your friend will get so much better as you focus on spreading positive energy. Everyone will be much happier.
If you have any questions, or comments, or suggestions, please leave them below.
“The effect of emotional venting is to sustain an unsatisfactory status quo. Most people think the opposite, that complaining is part of an effort to change an unsatisfying situation. Nope. Complaining lets off pressure so that we neither explode with frustration nor feel compelled to take the often risky steps of openly opposing a difficult person or situation. Keeping emotional pressure tolerably low doesn’t change problematic circumstances but rather perpetuates them.” – Martha Beck
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