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Do You Over Vent Your Problems?

two women friends having coffee and venting to each other

Friends may encourage you to express yourself. They send the message that talking about problems signals mental balance, and that it is positive to air your views--but only to an extent. You can cross the line into negativity if you aren’t careful. Here’s how over-venting holds back progress, and what to do instead.

It doesn’t always help to vent problems

Venting to a friend or therapist can help you release emotions rather than bottle them. Repressed emotions are destructive for health and well-being. But expressing yourself need not mean you talk about every little unsettling event. Nor need it entail talking to gain agreement to justify negative views.

When you over vent, you go around in circles. You repeat why you’re upset and your thoughts about what happened. This repetitive negative talk deepens your current emotions. It creates negative thought patterns too. Ideally, you want to swap negativity for positivity, so you feel better.

It’s positive to have friends who listen and offer support when you want to talk about a problem. But if difficulties get worse because you talk with somebody, you get nowhere. You’re stuck in a negativity loop reinforced by someone letting you vent.

Talking about problems might give you a buzz if your primary aim is to elicit agreement. When people agree with you, you feel good. Your bright mood is short-lived, though. You need to talk about another problem to receive another mental boost. Reporting problems then becomes an addiction.

Find answers in silence

Wisdom flows in silence. When your mind is still, you tap into your sage-like, higher self. You retrieve vital knowledge about how to proceed and find solutions. Inner calm lets you recognize whether you’ve overreacted. You might note certain events trigger anger or sadness and look at how to alter the way you respond to them.

While you are reflective, you can consider the stories you’ve told yourself about events too. Have you exaggerated? Not taken people’s views into consideration? Missed important details that explain what occurred? Maybe you see situations negatively when there’s a silver lining?

How to calm your mind

Access a calm, wise frame of mind by meditating. Meditation can help you find a space in your thoughts and take a break from anxiety. In that space, you can connect with solutions and solve problems. Even if answers aren’t forthcoming, you’ll experience inner calm and improve your mindset.

To meditate, sit in a quiet place where no one will disturb you. Or lie down on your bed or on the ground. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Follow each breath as it travels in and out of your body to the count of six. Rest your tongue on the bottom of your mouth and breathe through your nose.

Imagine every breath goes in and out of your heart, and relax. If intrusive thoughts arise, don’t fight them. Acknowledge them and return your focus to breathing.

Your parasympathetic system, responsible for aiding calm, will respond, and you will enjoy deep relaxation.

The more you practice, the easier it will be to meditate. People new to meditation often find a few minutes is enough at first. They work up to longer periods as meditating becomes more familiar.

If the type of traditional meditation described doesn’t appeal to you, try mindfulness. Take a stroll among nature and focus on breathing as you walk. Or become engrossed in the details of the natural world. Examine a leaf and smell the flowers. Watch bumble bees or listen to birdsong. Fill your mind with nature and there will be no room for worry. What’s more, your problems are likely to feel smaller when you achieve a calm mindset.

Turn to meditation and mindfulness when you feel overwhelmed and restore a sense of calm. Remember, friendships can thrive on sharing. And talking through problems can help. But you’ll gain more insights from friends who show you fresh ways to view events compared to those who let you over vent. Most importantly, not venting too much, and seeking inner answers will lead to peace and personal development.


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