I believe we’ve all said “I just want to vent” to friends at some point in our lives, but what does this do for us? In my opinion it doesn’t help to keep doing it. It’s an opportunity to complain about whatever is going on; and heaven help the person you are venting to if they try to offer a solution (I’ve bitten more than a few heads off).
In my experience I would get worked up about something and just seethe. When I vent, I unload on whoever is unlucky enough to listen; but rather than feeling better I tend to start thinking about everything else that’s going wrong as well – and add it to the verbal eruption.
Lately I’ve been trying a different tack, and I like how it’s made me feel. Rather than vent about how frustrated/pissed off I am, I do my best to calm myself down. Once I’m no longer seeing red (with me this can take a while) I ask myself what about the situation pissed me off – and I look for what I could have controlled.
More often than not I’ve found opportunities where I did not have to allow the situation to bother me as much as it did; and this discovery has led to me not reacting as violently when something similar occurs. I’m far from a Buddhist monk – but knowing how much I hate the feeling of being pissed off or the exhausted state I find myself in afterwards – I’m proud of the incremental gains I’ve made.
Maybe there is a constructive reason to vent and I just haven’t found it. What I have found is either me biting the head off someone close to me (because I don’t vent to strangers), or the venting turning into a pity party as the person I vented to shares their own recent experience. This usually devolves into “our life sucks” moments – which is REALLY not constructive.
So next time you find yourself getting ready to say “I just need to vent”; please ask yourself – what do you want to accomplish. If you want to feel better, be clear with yourself about how venting is going to help you feel better. Reflect on what occurs after you vent, writing it down will give you the ability to consider this in a much clearer state of mind. I think you’ll find you are a happier version of yourself if rather than “venting” you address whatever pissed you off in the first place – either by changing the situation or modifying how you let it affect you.