Anger Management and Healthy Venting
by Badeish Lange
 208-735-5376 ~ ~


Venting is thought to be Cathartic. Can feel good right? Actually, research shows that venting isn’t all that good for us.  In fact, it can perpetuate problems, anger issues as an example, by reinforcing negative responses to situations. And when we enlist family, friends or coworkers in our rants, it can reinforce our position all the more.

You vent, they agree. They share a story in return, it reinforces your story.  The result is even more ammunition for getting angry. We vent about everything, we do it often, and we do it everywhere.

Learn to set limits on the venting: Maybe no more than five minutes to tell me what happened and when your five minutes are up, talk about what’s going to help you feel better. Ultimately seeking help and letting others help with finding a solution is always a good choice.

People have an innate desire to talk and be heard. After all, we humans have developed and evolved a pretty complex system of communication.  We’ve become very skilled at venting, but just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.  In the end, what does it do for us?

The venting does not change the situation that made us angry, it won’t prevent the situation from happening again in the future, it raises our blood pressure, and it brings negativity to our environment. The rush of venting and ranting can feel intoxicating, when in fact it’s usually just toxic.

The good news is, we can learn how to react and act differently. We can practice emotional intelligence that helps us maneuver through triggering situations. Our brains are not fixed; they are highly adaptable, flexible, and can learn new ways of dealing with our feelings. 

The 5 Ways of Venting:

   1. Wait. When you feel triggered, commit yourself to giving some time for the situation to process.  Angry at a driver? You can choose not to act on your initial reaction. First, wait a minute to just breathe and let the moment pass.

   2. Practice not jumping to conclusions. We are very good at labeling situations and condemning people on a moment’s notice. But what if we might be overlooking a totally different reality?

There are endless possibilities and it is better to stop and practice non-labeling, non-judgement and go to a state of mindfulness.  When you experience this new reaction, you will strengthen the possibility of communications being more helpful.

   3. The Emotional Trap.  If someone didn’t do something directly at you or intentionally to you, is it really your business to react to it?  Step back and ask yourself, “Is this any of my business, and who is responsible?”

   4. Write. Try an alternative to venting out loud. Rather grab a pen and jot down some notes to yourself about what you’re angry about.  Jotting down some thoughts will engage your body physically and mentally and allow your brain to drain- to slow down.

   5. Witness. If you still need to talk with someone after you’ve tried other ideas, ask a trusted friend to witness your venting and set limits. “Can I talk to you for five minutes? And I really mean five!”

Notice how many times you repeat the same information.  When we’re worked up, we repeat ourselves for emphasis.  Setting limits will force us to keep it brief, sort out our thoughts, and then focus on a solution. 

Thank you for listening, 
Badeish Lange