When you’re dealing with a stressful situation at work, sometimes it feels really cathartic to vent to friends and loved ones. But research shows it doesn’t really help, even if we think it makes us feel better. One study from last year found that not complaining about negative things that happened helped to minimize their impact. And workplace psychologist Christine Allen points out that venting can keep is stuck in negativity and complaining can actually make us feel worse.
So if something at work is driving you bananas and quitting isn’t an option, try one of these more productive alternatives to venting:
- Get moving and take a walk or run around the block - Use all that energy to do something physical, like walking around the block. And workplace psychologist Karissa Thacker advises taking deep breaths and says “it really does work.”
- Don’t give the subject of your gripes power over you, especially when you’re off the clock - It’s bad enough your job is getting you stressed while you’re at work, don’t let it eat into your personal time, too.
- Put a time limit on it - If you really need to complain for a few minutes, set a time limit and when you reach it, move on to a more solution-oriented mindset when you’re done venting.
- Write down those negative feelings and then get rid of them- It can help you stop ruminating, so try to let it go when you write it down.
- Get advice from someone further along in their career - It’ll help you feel like you’re not alone and give you tips for dealing with the situation like a pro.
- Make a real connection - At the office we’re always emailing and calling everyone, even those who work across the hall, so take a minute and have a real face-to-face conversation when you can, even for two minutes while you’re at the coffee machine or copier.
- Have checks and balances - If you’re trying to break the cycle of venting, ask someone you trust to help nudge you when you start doing it so you can catch yourself and stop.