Have you ever wondered if venting was a useful way to release your emotions? Simply put, is venting good for you? I guess that depends on what you mean by venting. If by venting you mean screaming, yelling, ranting or raving about your problems, feelings and emotions with anger, then no, venting is not good. Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “yea, but releasing my emotions that way is necessary, if I keep them bottled up inside, I’ll explode one day.” That would be an understandable way to think, but not a wise one. Besides, if you are screaming, yelling, ranting or raving, then to some degree, you are already exploding.
So, what to do with all those feelings and emotions? I never said that you shouldn’t release them, I just don’t recommend venting in the aforementioned sense. The way in which some people vent is not healthy, that’s all. So let’s eliminate the misconceptions that venting by yelling, ranting and raving about our problems actually helps us and let’s work on venting in a positive, healthy manner instead.
When we are experiencing negative feelings and emotions, such as anger or fear, we may deem it necessary to express such feelings so as not to experience them alone. Expressing these feelings to someone by talking with them in a calm and rational manner can be very helpful and can actually greatly contribute to our letting go of such feelings. As the saying goes, “a problem shared is a problem lessened.” Just by letting someone else know of our feelings, we may experience release from them and perhaps the person with whom we are talking, will say something that helps us to feel better as well. When we are spinning thoughts around in our own minds, all we will get in return are our own thoughts.
Now, let’s talk about the person who is angry and feels a need to express it by screaming, yelling and complaining. This form of venting only adds fuel to the fire. It actually feeds the already present negative emotions as opposed to releasing them. And worse yet, we will damage those that are subjected to our outbursts. Most people do not find it pleasant to listen to angry tirades and it can do all kinds of damage to children and adults as well. Think about it. If you are already feeling angry, for example, doesn’t it make sense that opposite feelings, such as peace, serenity and happiness, would relieve the anger or do you think that continuing on with anger will somehow make you less angry?
"Keep Talking About It and It Will Grow"
There is a fine line between therapeutic talking and the type of talking that makes your problems bigger. I am walking a tight rope here, I know, as there are most definitely times when we need to discuss our problems in order to find a resolution. Perhaps you are the type that bottles up your feelings and emotions which results in other personal problems. Well then maybe you need to talk more. But maybe instead of talking about your problems, you rehash them over and over in your mind. Either way, talking or thinking too much about life’s problems, can make the problems bigger, not better.
How we talk about life’s problems also plays a role here. For example, talking to a therapist about our issues both past and present with the goal of improving ourselves is much different than talking or complaining, over and over again about your boss, your spouse, the traffic or the weather. Much of our talking or thinking about life’s problems is actually complaining and self-pity and just an overall lack of acceptance of life as it is, which is why I do not think it’s accurate to refer to such problems as our problems. Much of what we think is our problem isn’t a problem at all. The problem is our inability to accept life on life’s terms.
So, even when we’re not yelling, ranting or raving, we can be venting in ways that are unhealthy and that make the problem grow. This is the type of talking or complaining to which I am referring in this post.
Take notice when you’re talking. Ask yourself before you speak if what you are about to say is positive or negative. Ask yourself if it is therapeutic or in other words, is it helpful to your overall sense of well-being or are you just complaining or on the pity pot? You know, poor me, I was stuck in traffic for two hours. Poor me, I don’t have any money. Poor me, I had to work so hard today. Of course, we leave out the poor me in conversation but we might as well say that before all of our complaining…I mean talking. This type of talking is not helpful to our peace and happiness. All we are doing is making the supposed problem grow larger than it is and making its life span longer than it needs to be. In Buddhism, this is a form of Right Speech and as it is with so much of the principles set forth on this site, you will need to practice this. I wouldn’t imagine that you will immediately stop all talk or venting that is not helpful to your well-being. You will most likely catch yourself in the act many times saying things that you probably shouldn’t have.
Awareness, as usual, is the key here. Now that you are aware that much of your speech is not necessary or beneficial and actually causes you and others harm, you can begin to change. The more you practice Right Speech, the more proficient you will become. Think about how many happy moments we have lost because we felt it necessary to vent negatively. So next time you think about complaining or venting, stop it there and go about your day. Don’t allow yourself to lose another moment to negativity. The less negative moments means the possibility of more positive moments. This is all really very simple. See what happens to a problem that you thought you needed to talk about. Many times, I think you’ll find that it dissipates over time, perhaps an hour or perhaps a day. And if it doesn’t, if really necessary, you could always discuss the problem later in a positive, healthy manner. Instead of negatively complaining, you could talk about how the problem makes you feel and why. Now we’re getting into another topic so I will stop here. I wish you all the peace that comes from acceptance.
My name is Alan and I hope I can help you to be as happy and grateful as I have become. I wasn’t always this way, I spent many years being depressed and miserable. I no longer wanted to feel this way, so I changed. I believe that most anyone can be happy, if they have the desire and willingness necessary to change. I have wished that I could share my experiences with others, so that they may find the same type of peace, happiness and contentment that I have attained. Hence…happinesshelp.org.
I am not a doctor or mental health professional. My views and insights are a result of almost twenty years of intensive spiritual, religious and psychological training and practice. Becoming happy is not necessarily an overnight matter, so be diligent and patient. Some will experience results more quickly than others. I personally experienced a gradual progression towards happiness. This may take some time so stick with it! You may be the last to notice how much you’ve changed. Don’t quit before the miracle happens.
I wish you peace and happiness.