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Thrive Global: The Right Way to Vent Without Increasing Your Stress Levels

14 Aug 2019
It can be helpful to find an outlet to let off steam, but there’s an important catch.

Originally found at Thrive Global by Mallory Stratton

Have you vented about an unrealistic deadline, or griped about a passive-aggressive client email to a colleague today? More than once, perhaps? According to research by Kristin Behfar, Ph.D., formerly of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, we complain to our co-workers, or hear others vent to us, four times a day on average. The urge to let off steam when we’re stressed may be universal, but it’s not always clear whether doing so actually helps our stress levels, or feeds them instead.

In a series of three studies recently published in Academy of Management Discoveries, Behfar, now a professor of strategic leadership and ethics at the United States Army War College, offers new insights on the pros and cons of venting. The takeaway: Venting may feel cathartic in the moment, but it also risks worsening your mood and spreading it to others — though there is a silver lining that venting constructively can help you move past the negativity instead of getting swept up in the heat of the moment. Keep these tips handy the next time the urge to vent arises.

Continue reading the original article at Thrive Global.


Read the original research in Academy of Management Discoveries

Read the research summary on AOM Insights

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