3 Effective Tips To Vent Without Increasing Your Stress Levels


Tips Vent Without Increasing Stress Levels

Have you vented about an unrealistic deadline, or griped about a passive-aggressive client email to a colleague today? More than once, perhaps? Is it possible to vent without increasing your stress levels?

It can be helpful to find an outlet to let off steam, but there’s an important catch.

According to research by Kristin Behfar, Ph.D., formerly of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, we complain to our co-workers or hear others vent to us, four times a day on average. The urge to let off steam when we’re stressed may be universal, but it’s not always clear whether doing so actually helps our stress levels, or feeds them instead. 

In a review of three studies recently published in Academy of Management Discoveries, Behfar, now a professor of strategic leadership and ethics at the United States Army War College, offers new insights on the pros and cons of venting

The takeaway: Venting may feel cathartic in the moment, but it also risks worsening your mood and spreading it to others — though there is a silver lining that venting constructively can help you move past the negativity instead of getting swept up in the heat of the moment.

Keep these tips handy the next time the urge to vent arises.

1. Share your frustrations with a challenger-listener

When you’re upset, you’re inclined to turn to a friend who will empathize and affirm that the pain you’re feeling is valid. But this reactive dynamic isn’t very conducive to working through the problem. To keep the conversation productive, Behfar and her co-authors suggest engaging with a challenger-listener, someone “who challenges the venter to reappraise and get to the root of the problem.” These people gently nudge you out of your own head and self-serving logic to help you see the situation more objectively. 

So if you’re miffed that your manager passed you over for a big assignment that’s right up your alley, a challenger-listener might prompt you to consider her perspective and other potential factors of the decision that have nothing to do with you or your capabilities.

Read How Healthy Thinking Techniques Can Help You Deal With Your Problems Better

2. Label your feelings

Our feelings are complex, multidimensional, and often overlap with one another, and it can be helpful to talk through them to make sense of it all. But to avoid getting caught in a cycle of co-rumination with your co-worker, frame the conversation as an investigation.

The goal: to get to the bottom of what you’re really feeling. Break down broad, sweeping emotions into smaller, more specific ones, a practising neuroscientist and psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, calls emotional granularity.

Her work has found that what we think of as anger is actually a wide cluster of feelings, and often a manifestation of a deeper hurt. So instead of complaining, “I’m so mad,” pinpoint the underlying emotions, such as “let down,” “impatient,” “betrayed,” or “unappreciated.”

Read How Knowing Your Myers-briggs Personality Type Can Help You Feel Less Stressed in Life

3. Have a solution at the ready

No one likes being on the receiving of someone who’s wallowing in their own self-pity, so to avoid this perception, pair your complaint with a tangible action you plan on taking. “Problem-solving makes you feel better, but getting things off your chest alone doesn’t make you feel better,” Behfar advises.

Practice coming prepared with a solution for every complaint, just as you would with your boss, to show your colleague that you’re thinking proactively and aren’t just complaining for the sake of complaining.

And that’s the right way to vent without increasing your stress levels.

Please share this article with anyone who you may think will find it valuable and helpful.

Written by: Mallory Stratton
Originally appeared on Thrive Global

Republished with permission
Tips Vent Without Increasing Stress Levels pin
3 Effective Tips To Vent Without Increasing Your Stress Levels

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

Struggling To Relax? Check These 7 Key ‘Stresslaxing Symptoms’ Now!

Warning 'Stresslaxing Symptoms' To Watch Out For!

In our fast-paced world, even taking time off can feel like another chore. When relaxing actually creates more stress, it becomes a problem. So how can we escape the clutches of stresslaxing symptoms?

It’s no secret that relaxing can be difficult, especially in the modern world. Many people struggle to unwind due to high stress levels, demanding jobs, constant connectivity through technology, and the pressure to always be productive.

Defined by the Urban Dictionary, “stresslaxation” is a paradoxical state when you are too stressed out to relax because not working is what’s stressing you out and it makes you even more stressed.

People feel guilty if they take time off,

Up Next

8 Signs A Man Is The Source Of His Own Misery: Self-Sabotaging Behaviors

Signs A Man Is The Source Of His Own Misery: Self-Sabotage

Ever wonder why he’s always gloomy and unhappy? These 8 signs reveal how he might be the source of his own misery, with self-sabotaging behaviors being an obstacle his own path to happiness.

Self-sabotage is often the biggest obstacle to happiness.

Self-sabotaging behaviors, negative mindsets, and the absence of emotional intelligence can unknowingly pave the path to a cycle of unhappiness. While external circumstances influence our success and well-being, the biggest obstacles to happiness are often found within.

Up Next

15+ Dress for Success Quotes to Boost Your Confidence and Inspire Your Life

Dress For Success Quotes To Inspire Confidence In Life

What we wear isn’t just about fashion—it’s a reflection of our mindset and ambition. Take a look at some of the “dress for success quotes” to influence confidence and, ultimately, success!

As fashion icon Edith Head once said, “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” We also believe that there is a powerful link between self-presentation and professional outcomes.

So, whether you put on a well-tailored suit showing authority or groom yourself that exudes creativity, fashion communicates a message to the world about who you are and what you

Up Next

8 Tips To Step Into Your Power And Thrive

Tips To Step Into Your Power And Thrive

Did you know that negativity can significantly hold you back in your life and prevent you from reaching your goals? However, it isn’t always easy to step into your power and transform your life.

Without doing so, though, you can’t expect to ever achieve your potential. Let’s take a look at some of the key transformation tips that you can leverage.

8 Tips To Help You Step Into Your Power

1. Learn to Let Go

Holding onto the past is one of the most common things that people do that prevents them from moving forward in their lives. If you want to transform your life, it is essential that you le

Up Next

How To Talk To Anyone With Confidence? 14 Psychological Hacks For Any Situation

How To Talk To Anyone With Confidence? Fun Tricks

Do you ever wonder how to talk to anyone with confidence? Small talk may be intimidating at times but it is an ability that everyone can learn – the art of conversation!

Be it a party, a romantic date, or an office environment; one can use certain psychological tips that will help with the process and make it even more fun.

So, if you have trouble finding the right things to say, or are always in the corner of a gathering, here is how to talk to people and participate actively in different social settings with confidence.

Up Next

Why It’s So Hard to Admit You’re Wrong: 7 Surprising Psychological Barriers You Didn’t Know About

Why Is It So Hard To Admit To Being Wrong? Psychological Reasons You Need To Know

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a heated debate, feeling that gnawing sensation that you might be wrong, but don’t want to admit it? Or maybe you are watching someone double down on their stance, even when all evidence points to the contrary, and wondering, “Why can’t they just say they’re wrong?” It’s a common scenario that plays out in classrooms, workplaces, and even family dinners, leaving many of us puzzled about why it is so hard to admit to being wrong.

Admitting we’re wrong isn’t just about swallowing our pride. For some people, admitting an error feels like a failure on a personal level, thus threatening their self-esteem and identity. Others worry about being judged and what consequences may follow. It’s not stubbornness alone, but this innate fear of exposure and vulnerability that makes it hard to

Up Next

10 Fun Activities To Spark Creativity In Kids

How To Improve Creativity In Kids? Fun Activities

Nothing makes a child happier than the opportunity to speak their minds. This is why parents and teachers need to know how to improve creativity in kids since it is one of the most essential skills they should have.

This will enable them to develop an inquisitive mind and pave their own way of learning by learning and exploring.

So below are some creative activities for kids to do and how we can support them in enhancing this superpower!

Why Is Creativity So Important?

Creativity is not just about painting a masterpiece or writing a novel; it’s about thinking outside the box, finding new solutions to problems, and expressing oneself uniquely.