Tuesday Thoughts: Is It Helpful To Vent Our Feelings?

by - 08:30

 A couple of weeks ago I was having a very, very trying day. Everything that could be difficult was being difficult and things just felt like a struggle. Although nothing major had happened lots of these little annoying things built up and by the end of the day I felt pretty pissed off. I wasn't in the best mood anyway and all the small inconveniences that happened throughout the day just pushed me over the edge.

I took to Twitter and questioned whether venting my frustrations - talking about what had annoyed me and why - was actually helpful, or whether I should work to seek inner peace and clarity on my anger. In the end, I talked about it briefly with my family when I get home, and moved on. I don't know that talking about this thing in particular made me feel specifically better, I think the feeling just passed on its own.

But that got me thinking: how useful is it, really, to vent? To complain without prejudice about the things that annoy us; to whine and bitch about things that do genuinely get on our nerves? It might not be anything big or anything all that life-threatening, but we notice it enough to get angered about it.

Apparently, venting can be both good and bad, depending on how we approach it. Sounding off about lots of things on a regular basis within close proximity to the event that triggered it can be damaging - it starts a cycle of anger/annoyance, especially if we vent to someone who can relate and almost support our frustration. Supposedly, this can lead to us then seeking angering situations more and more, until our tolerance for things gets so low that we're basically pissed off that an old lady took longer than five seconds to get on the bus.

We have a desire to be heard and understood, to feel as though we are justified in our thoughts and actions, even if we can perhaps see that we are being a little OTT in our reaction to things. Unfortunately, pure venting about a situation won't actually change what happened, it just gets us more worked up and, I've noticed this especially, brings an aura of negativity around us. 

However, that's not to say that there aren't constructive, useful ways of venting. Understanding what may be an underlying reason for us to get so frustrated can help: maybe we aren't getting enough sleep or we're frustrated about something else that we aren't talking about. Journaling about things is another useful suggestion and something that I do a lot - I often don't feel the need to talk about negative/annoying things to other people, but writing it down not only allows you to structure your thoughts better, but I often find that I don't go on for as long as I would if I were talking because my hand gets tired!

Ultimately, talking about things that frustrate you, however petty they may seem, can be good - it's a form of catharsis. But allowing yourself to regularly get so wound up by minor things and venting about it often can be detrimental to our outlook on the world as well as our mental health. I feel that it's better to only put it out there if you feel it's really necessary, and once you've put a bit of distance between yourself and it.

We're only human and we can't be expected to never let anything affect us, all we can control is how we choose to handle it. This is something I've been working on recently and while I still have days where I vent for a good ten minutes about how annoyed I am that Taylor Swift hasn't put her album on Spotify, I'm generally getting better at letting shit go.

What's your opinion on venting? Do you find that you do it often?

Stay inspired,

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  1. Very interesting subject! Did quite a lot of my dissertation on this! Suppressing our emotions is actually one of the most unhelpful regulation strategies, as is rumination (focusing on all the bad parts and replaying the event/feeling in your mind over and over) - for obvious reasons! However if you can successfully reappraise the situation (i.e try to see or reframe it in a more positive way - takes a bit of practice...), then this can help you experience negative emotions less strongly next time and develop better ways to cope with them :)

    If you wanna know more I could talk about this stuff all day! xo

    1. Ooh that is interesting! I think it can definitely be useful to talk about things that bother us (it's in our nature) but I wondered whether venting frustrations, especially about really insignificant stuff, is good for our mental health.

      Yesss let's talk about super deep psychological theories please :D xoxo