Friday, August 1, 2014


I hear people express their emotions every single day and I quietly listen to their diatribe about losing their parking space or not getting promoted at work. I have never resorted to “advice giving” or suggesting that they “see the positive side and count their blessings”.  I simply listen to other people and empathize with them while I try and not be the most effusive personality in the room.

Recently I've learned that those who freely express themselves and emotionally vent their feelings are likely to experience better health outcomes than those who repress and “hold in” their emotions.

In a book that I've been reading, “Harness your Dark Side” by Al Galves, he mentions a study where one of the groups in this study was asked to write about topics that didn't provoke their emotions—like what they want for their future, what they did last summer, world peace etc. The other group tested was asked to write about the most emotionally gripping experience of their lives.  A couple months later when both groups were compared, they discovered that the group that disclosed the most painful details had a better immune system and had fewer doctor visits than the group who wrote about more mundane, emotionally neutral topics.


  1. While it may be good to vent out frustrations on such things, it may not be good for extreme cases. In the Pen and Teller: Bullshit episode on anger management, They show an experiment where two groups were given something to be angry about (a written report graded as terrible). One group was told to relax and count to ten while the other group was told they can hit a pillow to vent. Then they were given a fill in the blank paper with line of letters and blanks. Examples like r_ p_ or k _ _ _. The group who vented through the pillow wrote words like rape and kill. They wrote angry and hostile words. When they other group that counted to ten and tried to relax filled out their paper, they wrote benign words like rope and kilt. In the end, it should be noted on what extent of venting is going on for the best method of solving it.

    1. Wow, thank you for sharing this with me John. I was not aware of this example but will take it into account during my next venting rampage. I think venting via writing may be a better decision that physically beating a helpless pillow.

  2. Yeah, I think I found it here....