You read something stupid — an article, a FB update, something I wrote on the website — and you fire off a rant in the comment section or on your blogspot. You assume it will make you feel better because it’s better to get frustration out instead of letting stay bottled up inside like your love of the original Gem.
Jeffrey M. Lohr, a psychologist at the University of Arkansas, has studied the efficacy of venting when it comes to letting go of negative emotions. In 2007, Lohr published a paper in The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, assessing past studies about how angry rants impact us.
In one of the studies Lohr reviewed, which was conducted by a University of Missouri researcher in 1969, students were forced to sit through a convoluted lecture about how to construct an origami sailboat. Midway through the lesson, half of the students were given the chance to review the instructor’s performance using evaluation forms, while the other half stayed where they were. Everyone, including those who had already filled out a form, was asked to review their teacher at the end of the lesson. When the evaluations were collected, the researchers observed that those who were encouraged to let their frustrations out the first time around were much harsher in the subsequent review than those who hadn’t yet filled out a form. The former group also copped to feeling hostile towards the ineffective instructor—leading Lohr and his colleagues to conclude that “expressing … anger seemed to preserve rather than reduce the hostile feelings.”
Not that research needs my experience as a back up but I tend to find this to be true. If I get angry and bitch and complain about something the feeling tends to linger much longer than if I just kept it inside and eventually forgot all about the rage.
Here’s the smart thing to do the next time your uncle gives his long and dumb opinion of the confederate flag on his FB —
While it’s never healthy to bottle up negative emotions, to truly move forward, you need to focus on potential solutions to your problem, rather than dwell on the problem itself. “The meaningful part is to say, ‘Okay, now I got that off my chest—what am I going to do about it?’”
Here’s my solution — stay away from the internet completely and watch 98% of your rage just melt away.
You’ll be missed.
[via Mental Floss]