Stop Venting

Published: 01st April 2010
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Have you ever called a family member and told him or her, "I simply must vent"? Venting is airing out stored-up feeling - that's the best-case scenario. At extreme end of the scale, it's like the dictionary definition of venting, that says it's an "the flow of volcanic wastes." And, trust me, fury is one ofthose volcanic wastes.

But wasn't it helpful to dispose of all that trapped lava and soot and ash? Is venting a good action? Sure, I'm here to put on record that, instead of what most people think, venting anger doesn't help. Venting doesn't make possible the emotional alleviation you hope, nor does it relieve the real-life problems that blow your fury to get started.

What it surely does, essentially, is just the reverse: It makes angry people angrier, and aggressive individuals more aggressive.
Shouting at a person that he's a "@#$%head!" communicates nothing but raw fury. It doesn't communicate to the person the reason you're angry. Conversely, if you communicate to him he's doing out of line, maybe he may be forced to review his own activity and find out what requires correction. If you channel your anger correctly, it could be similar to holding up a mirror in which the other person ponders at an image of himself - his conduct - and it's usually an image that's unwelcome, if not downright ugly. Many of the folks you're angry at would rather you vent and call them disparaging labels compare to understanding your fury, cornering them to explore a closer scrutiny at themselves. In reality, by venting, you might be doing the individuals you're angry with a enormous help - but not the sort that stays!

Thirty years ago, Dr. Arthur Bohart from California State University carried out a series of experiments to examine the influence of catharsis (the psychiatric name for venting) in minimizing anger. In one of those experiments, he got three groups of distressed subjects do one of three things:

Sit still in a room thinking about their feelings.

Voice out their angry emotions into a voice recoding machine.

Spare 20 minutes talking with a counselor about how they felt.
Dr. Bohart drew the conclusion that counseling was the most useful avenue of controlling fury as it engaged both the communicating and understanding of one's feelings. He also concluded that being quiet (not airing of grievances) reduced anger faster than venting - just getting things off your chest and into a voice recorder.
In a nutshell: If you're feeling perpetually annoyed, your best chance is to talk to a counselor on your feelings so you can recognize and acknowledge your problem and figure out the ways to move on. But when you're facing an independent episode of annoyance, you're advised to thinking about them quietly than you are venting to a colleague.

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