Psychology Myth; Better to Vent?

Is it better to vent?

We often say, “It’s good to vent” and “go ahead, vent on me if you want” but it really is not a good idea to do. There are years of evidence to show that it is better to let the anger subside and cope with it rather than have an emotional “catharsis”. Yet, most of our culture believes it is better to have a catharsis and let it out by doing something like hitting or screaming in a pillow.

However, this is the very thing that causes a lot of grief in our world. When you feel stress and vent it out, it is a conditioned response that “I am stressed.. I ought to express it”. When you feel emotional and let it out, you actually condition yourself into thinking that it is a good thing to vent it out because you have done so in the past and apparently felt better afterwards. However, the fact of the matter is we blind ourselves to the very fact that we are simultaneously conditioning ourselves to thinking that we ought to vent and express all emotional stress! In fact, it is these very same people who will feel that if they do not express the anger, then it is being built up inside. Of course they will feel this way because they have not had the opportunity to express the anger that they think is best – yelling, hitting, etc. Whereas there are countless studies showing that it is far better to just cope with the anger and let it subside – because it does.

Psychology studies have shown that;

+ Expressing anger towards someone raises aggression in the relationship

+ People who pounded nails after someone insulted them, they pounded them harder

+ Playing aggressive sports raises aggression

+ Playing violent video games raises perceived violence

It is apparent that people need to concentrate more on how to cope and deal with their anger and stress without perpetuating it in aggressive styles. For example, reading, exercising, meditating, general relaxing, etc.

In the end, I ask you, which is better:

A) “If you feel stressed, come talk to me about”


B) “If you feel stressed, you can vent on me”

The implication is that one could invite an aggressive relationship while the other invites a collaborative one.

What do you think…?



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