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Althealth

To vent or not to vent: is letting out our feelings actually helpful?

0 8 months ago

When we have a long and stressful day, we often want to talk about it with someone close to us. Whether it is telling your partner about an annoying colleague at work or texting your friends about being frustrated with your partner who once again didn’t do the dishes, it can feel good to just let it out.

Sharing or letting negative emotions out—venting—is a commonly used coping strategy. Many people believe venting is helpful because it enables them to release their frustration and anger, and they are better able to problem-solve afterwards.

However, research suggests venting may be a double-edged sword.

Venting, in moderation, can be good for your health

On the one hand, sharing our emotions can make us feel better because people tend to respond with reassurance and sympathy.

No one likes to see their friend or family member stressed and naturally they want to be supportive, validating and understanding.

On the other hand, when we persistently vent to someone else as a way to cope, it can negatively affect the other person’s emotional state.

After a while they may find it hard to respond with the same level of warmth, empathy, and support, and this can put a strain on the relationship.

Additionally, when we vent to others who are also experiencing a stressful situation, it can reinforce a sense of mutual distress, making both parties feel worse.

Whether venting as a social sharing strategy is helpful or harmful probably depends on a few things, including who we vent to, how often we do it, and how we go about it.

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