I Need to Vent: Where To Turn
Updated January 25, 2019
Reviewer Stephanie Deaver, LCSW
If you need to vent, you aren't the only one. At one point or another, everyone needs to release fears, inner turmoil, and emotions. Without the willingness or ability to vent, you may carry negative emotions around with you for the rest of your life.
According to psychopharmacologist Candice Pert, humans store pent-up negative emotions in their very cells and tissues, eventually causing disease. But you don't need to proclaim your emotions and anxieties through a megaphone to be heard. Here are some healthy ways to set those emotions and anxieties free.
Know Who to Trust
Not everyone is a trusted confidant. Know who your trustworthy friends are by entrusting them with a little information at a time. If this information becomes public gossip, you know not to trust them with bigger issues. Protect yourself from embarrassment and frustration by voicing your emotions and concerns to trustworthy people.
Build A Support System
People who have a robust support system tend to be mentally and physically healthier than their peers who lack a support system. In fact, research has revealed that people who do not have a strong support system are fifty percent more likely to die from heart disease than those who have adequate support. In addition, people who have been diagnosed with a chronic disease are able to better manage symptoms with the help of positive relationships.
Ironically, to build a support system, you must first support others. If you approach people with a me-centered, consumerist perspective, you are less likely to form a strong bond. But if you take a genuine interest in the lives of others and they can see that you truly care, they will reciprocate the care and concern. To get love, you must first give love.
Join A Support Group
If you have an addiction, chronic disease, or a storied relationship history, you can join a support group designed just for you. Join a support group based on a topic near and dear to your heart to meet people who have overcome similar woes. When you start from a place of commonality, it is easier to form a lasting bonding.
Journaling has proven mental and physical benefits. The best part about journaling is that you can do it anywhere at any time. It is a healthy, easy-to-implement coping mechanism. And when you write down your fears and negative emotions, you don't have to worry about the possibility of judgment or criticism from others. Some studies have shown that regular gratitude journaling (or jotting down your blessings) can be as effective as antidepressants in managing the symptoms of depression.
Ensure Balance in Your Friendship
Having close friends or family members that you can open up to and vent to is a true blessing. We all have times when we just need someone who cares about us to listen and validate how we are feeling. However, what you don't want to do is ruin your friendship by complaining too much or being too negative. It's important to balance venting with other positive interactions as well. Make sure you have plenty of uplifting conversations and spend time doing enjoyable things together. Show your friend the same respect in return by asking her questions about her life and letting her know you are there to listen to her if she ever needs to vent.
Also, don't just assume your friend has time to listen to you vent, rather ask first. If there is a big problem you need to talk about, ask your friend if she has time to listen. She will be a much better support for you if you are respectful of her time and appreciative of her listening ear.
Try Other Coping Skills First
If you constantly and immediately turn to someone else to vent to when you experience a problem, you may be relying too much on other people to help you solve your problems. Try utilizing other coping skills first before you turn to a friend to vent. This way you can clear your head, calm down, and think about what you specifically want to share. One idea is to get some anger out by doing something active like going for a walk or run, dancing, or going to the gym. This can release endorphins that will help you feel less angry and help you be able to think more clearly before you just go and vent to someone.
Another idea is to do something that will distract you that you enjoy doing. Listen to some music, watch a funny television show, go shopping…anything to take your mind off the problem and give you time to calm down. In addition, try doing something relaxing, like taking a warm bath, meditating, or practicing mindfulness to give you some time to calm down before you vent to someone. All of these things will help you be in a better frame of mind and help you feel more in control before you turn to a friend or family member. You don't want your friend or family member to feel burned out by your venting.
Avoid turning to social media to vent. Often times when we are feeling upset about something, it's tempting to immediately turn to social media to vent our frustrations. If you do this too often people will get tired and begin to feel like you complain too much. Then they will not be as supportive to you when you really need it. There is a healthier way to use social media. First of all, just give it some time before you post something. A lot of time even waiting ten minutes will help you calm down enough to think about what you really want to share. Also, focus on what you can solve on your own before venting to others and expecting others to come up with solutions for you. Yes, it is great to get other ideas and perspectives on things, but sometimes when you vent you may end up getting more opinions than you asked for and feel even more overwhelmed. On the contrary, you may not get any responses and then end up feeling worse. So just be selective of what you share on social media and try other things first.
If You Need To Vent, Talk To An Online Therapist
It's important to keep clear boundaries when venting to a friend or loved one. You don't want to end up treating them like a therapist. If you are able to vent to a therapist first you will find that your other relationships will be more healthy and positive. Also, a therapist can help you understand and process your feelings and emotions and teach you effective ways to solve your own problems instead of relying on other to people to solve your problems or make you feel better. An online therapist is a nonjudgmental, caring individual who will listen patiently as you vent. Online therapy will allow you to release emotions and anxieties so that they will no longer burden you. Don't risk mental or physical dysfunction caused by pent-up negativity. Turn to an online therapist to vent your frustrations and hurts.