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What is venting?

When we vent, we let something out. Oftentimes, we are letting out angry emotions. Venting might look like calling your friend on the phone to let out any frustrations you have over a fight you had with a partner. Or, you might be in therapy and may yell to your therapist about something bad that happened to you during the week. We vent because we feel pent up and we often find venting to be helpful. But, what is venting actually? Venting is a form of displacement – it is merely taking your anger/frustrations and letting them out in a safe space.

How does venting affect me?

We often vent because we find it to be helpful. If we get angry at our supervisor, we may find that venting (or letting out steam) to a coworker might make us feel better to express those frustrations. While venting may feel good in the moment, it may not actually be as helpful in the long run. This is because when we vent, we don’t actually process any of the emotions we are feeling. Oftentimes, we end up feeling worse because venting actually causes an increase in stress and anger.

How can I process anger in a healthier way?

For better, long term outcomes regarding anger, it’s important to learn how to process them. Rather than venting, try cooling yourself down. This might include stepping away from the situation and going for a walk, practicing breathing, or calming yourself down in another way. Next, try to reflect on the situation by considering alternative perspectives (i.e., viewing things from the other person’s point of view). Finally, learn productive ways of processing stress. This can include exercising, doing art, journaling, going for a walk, talking to a friend, or seeing a therapist. It’s also helpful to understand the underlying emotion you are feeling, which can be hurt, disrespected, betrayed, violated, and many others.

This page is also part of the Roamers Therapy Glossary; a collection of mental-health related definitions that are written by our therapists.

While our offices are currently located at the South Loop neighborhood of Downtown Chicago, Illinois, we also welcome and serve clients for online therapy from anywhere in Illinois and Washington, D.C. Clients from the Chicagoland area may choose in-office or online therapy and usually commute from surrounding areas such as River North, West Loop, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lake View, Rogers Park, Logan Square, Pilsen, Bridgeport, Little Village, Bronzeville, South Shore, Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, Wicker Park, Bucktown and many more. You can visit our contact page to access detailed information on our office location.