Venting may make you feel great when you’re angry, but it doesn’t help you act great. Contrary to popular myth, venting has no real value to you at all. Say it with me now: Venting has no value and is a good habit to avoid.
But don’t take just my word for it. Let’s hear what one of the top social psychology researchers in the world has to say about venting, anger, and aggression. In the following 30-minute audio, Dr. Brad Bushman graciously addresses questions I commonly field from clients and audiences, like these:
- Where did we get the idea that catharsis is beneficial?
- Why do people persist in believing in the benefit of venting?
- What’s the difference between venting and the reasonable expression of emotion?
- How are catharsis, venting, rumination, anger, and aggression related?
- When is physical activity helpful for calming anger–and when is it not?
- Instead of venting, what can you do that really does work to calm yourself down?
- What one simple thing can you do to avoid being “hangry”?
To read some of the research yourself, I recommend these articles by Dr Bushman and colleagues:
- Does Venting Anger Feed or Extinguish the Flame? Catharsis, Rumination, Distraction, Anger, and Aggressive Responding
- Chewing on It Can Chew You Up: Effects of Rumination on Triggered Displaced Aggression
- Flies on the Wall Are Less Aggressive: Self-Distancing “in the Heat of the Moment” Reduces Aggressive Thoughts, Angry Feelings and Aggressive Behavior