Is Venting a Good Thing?


In our NLP training Amsterdam location it was too cold to tape outside, like I usually do. I came across some cool science about venting, that I wanted to share with you. Always fascinating that what we know as NLP Practitioners since the 70s, scientists are now discovering as if it is “new.”

Anyway, below a video. I will add a transcription below it.

Is venting your emotions a good idea or not? If you’re a coach yourself should you let your clients vent to you? That’s not an easy answer. So old science says venting is a good idea. Getting your emotions out is a good idea. That’s old science. New science actually says well, venting allows us to relive our negative moments.

And I think that that’s a big reason why people prefer to go to an NLP-trained coach or an NLP-trained therapist, because we never bought into that old science in the first place. Because the problem is when someone relives that old context, that thing that’s over that is a negative emotion, all you do is you relive that, especially if you relive it as seen through your own eyes. We call that association, where you see what you would see, hear what you would hear, and feel what you would feel.

And all that you do is you create learning in the brain, the same emotions release again, and so that’s not necessarily helpful. If anything you’re just setting up the coding inside the brain. The negative chemical response can actually do a lot of harm.
So should we stop venting altogether? Should we stop others to vent to us altogether? No, of course not. It’s about selective venting. So when you should let somebody else vent to you and you should vent to them should be based on what is it that is going to be achieved with venting.

Venting is only useful when it is not about ruminating or co-ruminating, spiraling the negative emotions further, make it bigger, all that stuff. It’s actually only useful to vent if the other person or you as a coach, as a helper, as a change worker, as a friend or whatever, is that if that other person can actually give you another perspective. Not advice, that’s different, but another way of looking at this from perhaps helping you or you helping someone else to move them away from this thing that you’re venting about, a solution if you will, a goal that you could set to get out of it. So is there something helpful or useful that can happen by someone else listening to this venting or you listening to this venting. So it’s about perspective.

And so if you’re venting towards someone else yourself, rather than vent towards everyone, is to really think about well, who is it in my life that has given me great perspectives before. And the same thing is that if you’re a coach, only allow clients to vent if it’s going to be a conversation about movement away from that problem and towards the solution, towards positive emotions, engagement and flow, positive relationship, meaning and purpose, achievement and accomplishment, markers of wellbeing.
And so that’s my take on venting and actually science’s take on venting.