We’ve all had moments of built up frustration and anger. When this happens, you may feel the need to immediately get your thoughts – and feelings – out into the open via a friend, family member, coworker, or stranger. Venting means to freely express strong emotions. When this happens, you may feel a sense of relief because you finally got everything off your chest. While this may feel good for the moment, there are some dangers that can arise with this as well.
The Huffington Post states that venting can keep us stuck in a negative cycle of anger and can prevent us from coming up with creative solutions to the problem. For example, if you dislike your job you may vent about it to coworkers; if this happens once it may be harmless but doing this often without applying to other jobs and attempting to take actions towards resolving your issues means that more anger will fester – and you may lose patience with your coworkers. All in all, venting can reinforce negative attitudes towards a situation. What can be done about this?
There are many healthy ways to manage your anger and frustration without stewing. Here are some excellent examples:
- Removing yourself from the situation. Psychology Today claims that if you are able, physically removing yourself from a situation that is causing you anger can greatly help is working through your emotions. If you can step away or go for a walk, do it.
- Distracting yourself. Watching a funny movie, reading an enjoyable book, or listening to music are ways to help you take your mind off your stressors until you can come back to them later, when you are able to think more clearly.
- Working towards a solution. Venting doesn’t always solve the problem – but is there a person higher up in the company whom you can express your concern to so that action will be taken? Can you speak directly to your friend and express your frustration? If you do it respectfully, this can be much more effective than venting.
Instead of getting caught up in the cycle of rumination and negativity, make the decision to do something healthy about your emotions. Society often tells us that we must bottle up our emotions, and this is how unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drug and alcohol abuse occur. There is always a healthier way. You have a choice.
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