Had a good vent lately? How does it help?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2014-08-20 12:16:32 -0500
Started 2014-08-09 14:46:24 -0500

Sometimes you just feel like hollering. Out of frustration, anger, fear, disappointment… it’s been building up for too long and it’s time to let it out.

And so you do.

Here are the potential benefits of a good vent: Venting helps you work through your feelings which, in turn, is a step toward accepting the challenges you’re facing. It’s a way to let out all those feelings that have been building up in your mind, taking up valuable space that could be better used for thinking and decision-making. And fighting your feelings is fighting yourself. And when you stop the fight, you’re in a better position to find solutions.

A caution: Venting can turn into a rant, which is a lot of angry words that go on and on and don’t really go anywhere (and drive everybody else away in the process). Venting helps you to release feelings, while ranting is a way of hanging on to them.

I recently posted an article on how to vent in a way that can benefit you emotionally and not leave everyone around you running for the hills. Here’s a link:


What about you? Do you find it helpful to vent when you are feeling especially frustrated? Or not so helpful? Are you giving yourself permission to vent or holding back? And if you are a regular venter, how to you vent in a way that in a way that benefits you?

As always, I’m looking forward to hearing about your experiences!

32 replies

DarkSonnet 2014-08-20 12:16:32 -0500 Report

Having a few psychology courses under my belt, I know the value of venting. That being said, I have a need to vent EVERY day! When I first married my husband, I asked him to research diabetes in order to understand my needs. I was told he didn't need to do that as it didn't affect him. Had I been told that before I married him, there would not have been a wedding… Even at that, I would have been able to deal with it if he hasn't undermined every move I've tried to make. On June 26,2002, I had a kidney transplant (I won't put the blame on him totally—I went at least five years of being a diabetic before I was diagnosed), and I've had an ulcer on each heel. I currently used a walker for the short haul and am in a wheelchair for the long hauls, plus I am morbidly obese. I know what needs to be done, but I need help doing it. I want to start PT, but his thing is that I can do the same thing here at home (that maybe be true, but at least the PT staff walk right along with you every step of the way). I have work out CDs for chair exercises and I wanted him to put up handrailings in the hallway so I could use them for grab bars to teach myself how to walk without a walker (that went over like a lead balloon). Well, I went over his head. I called the office of our apartment complex and they told me that if I bought the materials, they would install them for me. Sometimes I feel like I could start screaming and never stop!
Dark Sonnet

ottersonrem@gmail.com maerceci
ottersonrem@gmail.com maerceci 2014-08-15 19:59:58 -0500 Report

I usto hold it inside until I would blow up and it was was out of control all those different emontions bothering me at the same time,and one day I opened up the back door and SCREAMED real loud till I couldn't scream any more !! And to say I honstley felt better,at that moment I new something had to change,I needed tool to learn how to vent in a better way than what was going on with me,So I dicided to get some help,now when I get mad and need to wven,ill power walk my huge yard,or ill go deep clean a room in the house,But most of all I have a support system people who I can call and talk to and very good friends,and that is what I do and I have come a long way,and I thank God for life now and every thing I have in it .

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-08-16 20:40:21 -0500 Report


Thanks for sharing this with us. I am glad you came to the point where you knew you really needed to vent. That's great. And you have found a way to let out those emotions that are building up -- by working it off around the house or by calling on your support system. That's a toolbox with some very powerful tools!


MrsCDogg 2014-08-12 15:41:36 -0500 Report

I also wait till I am alone to vent. That way no one can misunderstand what I am saying or why I am so upset. I find that driving alone in the car is a great place for such activities. I someone sees or hears then they will be gone and it won't matter.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-08-12 20:31:42 -0500 Report

Hey MrsCDogg, that's a good idea. The goal is to let off that steam. And I am sure you aren't the only driver in a conversation with him/her self. Gary

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-08-12 08:50:51 -0500 Report

If I need to vent, I usually go where I can be all alone and start arguing and fussing with myself. The problem is I usually lose the argument with myself. At least by this time I am laughing so hard I forget what was wrong in the first place.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-08-12 20:30:40 -0500 Report

Hey Trudie Ann,

That's a great approach to venting. Get it out somewhere. And if you're talking to yourself, don't forget to take notes! :))


rolly123 2014-08-11 18:32:40 -0500 Report

I get new therapist every two months! I have new one going c her two weeks ! I already saw her and opened up and needed more time so short time!

ReaderReader12 2014-08-11 12:07:13 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary,
If I need to vent now I turn the radio up and sing even if I don't know the song very well or not. It helps me get out and stay out of my head. Very freeing for sure.

In my other life, I would go to a friends house who lived two doors away. There would be three of us. We would light a bunch of candles and then vent our asses off. There was no topic that we could not bring up. We would laugh until we cried and then we would take on the next topic. I vented about my soon to be ex-husband. In fact I grew to stand strong with those friends. Myself and one of those friends made up our make believe person and the whole story about their extended family. All the while our other friend was telling us that was so weird to do that and she will not. I get happy just thinking of that time in my life. It was the time just before my divorce and I could not have done it without those two women in my life. We have lost touch with each other and that is sort of sad, but on the other hand we were there when we needed each other. I learned a lot and have used some of the things in my life now, as I go on without them in my life.

Oh…now I also talk to myself and sometimes break out the bad words. Sometimes swearing like a sailor. Wow…feels good and no one hears except me and the animals.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-08-11 19:00:55 -0500 Report

Hi ReaderReader,

I suspect that loud singing has the same result as having a good old holler. It lets that frustration out.

What a great story about the two women who supported you. Just having someone who can listen without judging, who is there when you need to vent, is a true gift. You were gifts to each other. It's interesting how we can connect with someone so deeply and then go our separate ways. Who knows, you may reconnect again in the future.

Let it out when you need to. I'm sure the animals are just fine with those bad words. :))



Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-08-10 22:05:05 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary,

I vent with friends every now and then. It is good to vent from time to time. There are times when you have to get things off your chest. Getting a different view point after you have vented can be the best medicine there is.

People see things differently. Sometimes a friend has had the same problem and solved it. The solution may or may not work for you. If it doesn't you can always modify it to make it work for you.

As I got older, I found out that things that would make me angry when I was younger doesn't bother me. I have learned to ignore a lot of things especially if it is senseless.

The good thing about my friends is that we don't call each other to vent over things we know are not important. We can't change the world or other people so our vents are often about things that are occurring in our lives.

The one thing I do is ask myself why is this a problem? What can I do to fix it? That eliminates my need to vent. However, if the problem was created by someone else and that person isn't being reasonable and won't compromise, then I will need to vent.Everyone needs to vent. It is a great way to release steam and take the pressure off.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-08-11 18:48:02 -0500 Report

Hi Joyce,

Thanks for chiming in here!

You make a very good point. If we are going to vent, we also have to be willing to listen. The person listening to us vent may have a perspective that can be helpful. They may see something that is right under our own nose but we haven't yet recognized. Good friends can also give good, honest feedback. And we may learn from their experiences.

I see what you mean about getting older. Our perspective changes. What used to be a drama isn't such a drama anymore. Life goes on.

Those are very good questions to ask yourself. Our frustration may be a matter of not wanting to recognize a plain truth, or a responsibility, and no amount of venting is going to make that go away. Still, sitting down and venting to someone can help us get to that understanding, and to accept life as it is. A good reason to know why you need to vent. And getting the pressure off is a good reason.


Kats49 2014-08-10 15:40:39 -0500 Report

I read an article about learning to take stress and using it to help yourself…The idea was to make your body believe that stress is a GOOD thing and will help the body to experience a healthier stronger stress response. At a TEDGlobal conference, "Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal gave a talk titled "How to make stress your Friend." I think that this applies to venting in the same way. Our bodies/minds believe what we believe and if we rework out responses to issues we can become stronger and healthier.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-08-11 18:42:13 -0500 Report

Hi Kats,

Stress can be good or bad. It's good if we use it to motivate ourselves, to get energized. What's not so good is when stress builds up and doesn't get resolved or released. Stress can be a great teacher. So instead of fighting it, we can ask it to come in and have a talk.

Thanks for sharing this.


Kats49 2014-08-10 15:32:45 -0500 Report

As a youngster I had anger issues and often got into MORE trouble by venting. Now, as I have gotten older, much older…I have learned to vent in a healthier manner by either writing down all that is bugging me, I often journal at night on a daily basis. Or I start cleaning something..I actually got an old baking pan all shiny and new by scrubbing the dickens out of it, I also swim, so many of my friends are out of state sometime we all vent through emails with each other…that we can listen and still help each other.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-08-11 18:40:20 -0500 Report

HI Kats,

You make a very good point here. There are healthy ways to vent that help you to get the emotions out without alienating other people and causing problems for yourself. Journaling is a great way to vent. And yes, putting that energy into something physical can also be a good way to work off frustration.

You can also start a discussion right here when you have something to get out.


GabbyPA 2014-08-09 19:35:17 -0500 Report

I pop like champagne. All power at the start but usually a bubbly libation by the end. The action of the yell or scream gives me great relief and then we can talk or do what we need to do to get through it. Work it out. Move on.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-08-11 18:28:33 -0500 Report

Hey Gabby,

That is a great metaphor for getting it out of your system and then moving on. A very healthy thing to do!


rolly123 2014-08-09 18:27:43 -0500 Report

I just vented with best friend my second mom she always listens try help! I never like to vent to anyone exspecially my therapist but lately need to! If I don't have any one to vent I walk and pray out loud!! I keep a lot things inside !

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-08-11 18:27:25 -0500 Report

Hi rolly,

Nice to see you. I am glad you have someone who can listen to how you feel. But why not your therapist?


Pegsy 2014-08-09 15:57:09 -0500 Report

Goodness! This is how I learned that my counselor was a total waste of time and money. I was paying her to allow me to vent in a safe environment so that I could get a grip on a stack of stresses that had accumulated in my life all at one time. She hardly allowed me to speak before she interrupted me and told me to just think positive thoughts and read a few books and decide to be happy as soon as I wake up in the morning. Seriously!? I have since dropped the expensive counselor and have confided in a good friend. She has been far more helpful and encouraging just by listening and she has helped me view things in different ways. It helps that my friend has lived through some similar experiences. This has really helped me be more accepting of my circumstances and that helps me think more positively and creatively toward solutions. Thankfully, I don't really need to vent often.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-08-11 18:26:35 -0500 Report

Hi Pegsy,

I really appreciate that you checked in here. I am sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with your counselor. Some people just can't listen to tough feelings. Unfortunately, some members of the mental health professions are included.

I am glad you found some who can listen while you talk, and is okay with hearing exactly how you feel. When you get those feelings out, then you are in a better position to both accept and to see what's possible.

So when you need to vent, then let yourself vent.

Thanks for sharing this!


CaliKo 2014-08-09 15:15:19 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary,
No, I haven't had a good vent lately. In fact, I can't remember when I last vented. I guess I'm due for a good vent, but really have nothing to complain about right now. I'll just count my blessings for now and save my vent for a vent-worthy occasion. How are you doing?

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-08-11 17:22:56 -0500 Report

Hi CaliKo,

Nice to see you, my friend. I agree with you. Having nothing you need to vent about is definitely a blessing. Thanks for checking in.


robertoj 2014-08-09 15:09:59 -0500 Report

I vent regularly. My main targets are my slow computer and sports. It feels good. A very good release. I enjoy die hard rival fans as long as it doesn't get personal.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-08-11 17:22:10 -0500 Report

Hi Roberto, very funny. Those are two very ventable topics. Be careful about sports. People can become very passionate. Gary

robertoj 2014-08-11 18:13:24 -0500 Report

I only talk trash to a few people. We know it's not in our control and willingly take our lumps. It looks serious but it isn't. We stop the trash talk until the next season. Too many people can dish it out but not take it which is no fun at all.

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