Think back to a moment where someone or something REALLY ticked you off. Maybe you were in an argument with your best friend and you felt like you weren’t being heard. Perhaps you missed your flight because someone else made you late. Or maybe you had a horrible day when even the simplest things went awry. Each of us have hot buttons or reach a tipping point that causes us immediate anger and frustration. Are you the type that needs to get the story off your chest in order to alleviate the anger and irritation? If so, is your venting purposeful and productive or do you become a mean-spirited complainer?
Benefits of Venting
I want you to know that venting is good for your health and personal growth. In regards to your physical health, expressing anger, frustration, or hurt shortly after an incident occurs can relieve stress and tension. Bottled up emotion can cause you to develop a temperament of anger which can make you jaded and unpleasant to be around. It can also cause you to be physically unwell to the point of disease. Increased cortisol levels are caused by high stress and harboring toxic emotions which directly suppresses the immune system. A suppressed immune system can lead to digestive issues, infectious illnesses, heart disease, hypertension, and even cancer.
In regards to your mental health and personal growth, venting can give you clarity, reassurance, and comfort. In times when your emotions are high your judgement and logic can be clouded which makes the truth out of reach. Speaking aloud and hearing yourself can put things into perspective after hearing how exaggerated your emotions can be. Also, when venting to a friend, it feels good to be heard by someone who cares about you and can give you feedback that can help you overcome your dilemma.
When Venting is No Longer Fruitful
However, you can abuse your vent sessions. For one thing, you can become a gossip. Our conversations can easily go from expressing feelings to bad mouthing someone. Instead of a release of pressure, gossiping can open the door to becoming judgmental, mean-spirited, and a complainer. It’s negative and destructive. You can also wear out your poor friends. If you are harboring feelings about something and are constantly venting about the same thing or constantly complaining without seeking resolution, you can exhaust your friend’s patience. They may also start to feel like there’s no room for them to express themselves to you and, ultimately, their needs aren’t being met in the friendship.
There is a time and place to vent. You should approach it with intention. The next time you experience something where you need to air out your frustrations, consider these few things:
What is your desired result? Are you looking for a solution or do you just want to be heard? Decide this for yourself and then tell the person listening to you upfront so they know how to respond and support you accordin
Who are you talking to? Whether you want feedback or the person on the other end needs to be a positive influence in your life. Instead of letting you wallow in your feelings or allowing you to tear down others, this person will pour life and wisdom into you and ideally point you towards Christ.
Find a solution or let it go. At some point, you have to stop festering over the incident that upset you. You can do this by deciding to release the person or circumstance and placing your thoughts and energy on something productive or something that brings you joy. Are you part of the problem that led to this frustration? Disruptions in our lives can be the best opportunities for us to break bad habits or learn how to be the peacemaker in the midst of conflict.
All in all, when you’re done venting you should feel better and become better. If you are feeling even more angry, irritated, or discouraged then check your purpose and check your heart.
Always choose in favor of positivity.