Things build up, tension rises, you’re having a bad day. And so, it’s time to vent. Rant, moan, whinge, fume, seethe, rage. It’s time to get it out. Better out than in. I like the word VENT because it sounds like a release. That is what we are aiming for. We are letting off steam.
Positive Venting is an exercise I have been doing for years when I teach Well Being Workshops. People often have profound epiphanies, turning points. The results are excellent. I’ll show you now how to do the exercise on your own. You might do this while you are driving, or find a quiet room away from others. Give it a go.
What we are aiming for is “A problem shared is a problem halved.” We don’t want “A problem shared is a problem doubled.” That’s why it’s called POSITIVE venting. The idea is that you feel better once you’ve done it.
Here’s how it works. You think of something that is bothering you; something that is irritating you, the source of your tensions. Let’s say ‘traffic.’ Now it is important to get specific, narrow it down. What about the traffic bothers you? It might be ‘slow moving traffic.’ Once you have owned the problem it starts to diminish.
Next you put your named problem into a sentence with a strong verb of how it makes you feel. “I get angry at slow moving traffic.” Excellent; Identifying your problems is always a step toward releasing them. Other verbs might be rage, fury, irritate, annoy, incensed, mad…you get the idea, the more colourful your verb the better.
As soon as you put your troubles into a sentence you gain perspective. It gives you some distance and ownership of the problem.
Now comes the fun part… you say the sentence out loud. Don’t worry no one is listening. Then you repeat the sentence a little louder. You might be saying the sentence to the wall. That is fine. And again say the sentence a little louder. Now shout it at the wall. Go on shout it. “I GET ANGRY AT SLOW MOVING TRAFFIC!!!!”
And shout it the loudest you can, really let that anger out. Now - and here’s the challenging bit, finish the sentence shouting Te He Ha Ha Ho Ho, sounds ridiculous. And it is. But so is getting stressed about slow moving traffic. There is nothing you can do about slow moving traffic, so why get upset by it. Slow moving traffic is an opportunity. It is time to listen to Radio 4. Ok, Radio 2.
Te He Ha Ha Ho Ho are the universal sounds of laughter. The Te He resonants in the head, Ha Ha comes from the mouth and Ho Ho lives in the chest. By repeating this phrase you are stimulating your laughter centres. And that’s what we want…. By releasing your problems we want to laugh at them. Remember – A problem only has the power with which we endow it. It is only a problem if you perceive it as one. Shakespeare put it perfectly; “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. Instead of seeing slow moving traffic as a negative, we can now see this as time to yourself and an opportunity to listen to the radio; same stimuli, but a different response.
Next time something is bothering you, next time things are building up, let off a bit of steam. Identify the problem, put it in a sentence with a strong verb, shout it at the wall, and finish the sentence with Te He Ha Ha Ho Ho. Simple; and simply amazing. Try it today.
Have a great day.
About the Author – Kate Hull Rodgers is an expert by experience. She has been mentally ill since 1986, more than 30 years. She is diagnosed as bi polar and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) Every day she battles to be in recovery, many days she wins. She speaks in corporate workplaces with her company www.humourus.co.uk. She has spoken in 29 countries. Also she runs Stepping Stone Theatre for Mental Health www.steppingstonetheatre.co.uk with her husband, Bill- and she is still happily married. Mustn’t forget, she is the proud mother of Harvey and Dominic – and the dog, Zebbie.