GO Month: Mental Clutter - V

Let's celebrate Get Organized (GO) Month by ridding ourselves of mental clutter.


To celebrate Get Organized (GO) Month I'm doing a series of posts on the mental clutter that can be just as pervasive as physical clutter. For each letter, I'll talk about a mental stumbling block that often impacts our well-being.


Let's focus on V ... Venting


Most of us have been known to have a good vent session every now and again. Some of us have them more often than others. Venting is a way of verbally sharing our emotions in order to relieve stress. And often when we vent to others we can feel closer to them as it gives us a sense of belonging, validation, and feeling heard. Sounds good on the surface, right?


Well, there's a definite negative side to venting that we all need to remember. Part of the equation of venting to others is being able to gain a different perspective and another insight to help us cope with our cognitive stressors, but if this piece of the equation is missing we easily get caught up in a pool of rumination. This is where we let it all out but then just stew in it and our negative emotions don't end up dissipating or can even get worse. Or we can even start to bring others down with our Debbie Downer attitude. Have you ever been around someone who vents constantly and they become a drain on your own emotional resources?


Another negative of venting is that when we remain in an angered or stressed state for too long it means that we're essentially reliving the experience. This leads to building stronger neural pathways for anger and making it easier to get angry the next time around.


Ways to combat venting include:

  • Choose another means to vent - instead journal, meditate, or get up and change your environment

  • When venting to someone be direct in what you need by asking: What's another way for me to think about this? What would you do in this situation? Am I seeing all sides?

  • Be choosy about who you vent to. If that person didn't help broaden your perspective last time or made you feel worse, find someone more helpful

  • Try to avoid online venting as negative emotions can spread like wildfire on the internet and you'd hate to have details of a situation get back to someone they shouldn't

  • Remember the simple fact that venting only keeps negative events in our heads longer and it's hard to forget about an annoyance if you keep complaining about it



"Scores of studies have shown that venting doesn't

soothe anger; it fuels it."

Susan Cain



Here's to freeing ourselves from the mental clutter of venting!

Please share with someone who needs a clearer mindset.



featured image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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