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We all have ups and downs to life. How do you deal with the downs? Do you numb yourself and avoid them? Or do you find the hidden gift held within them?

Each time a painful emotion is felt, it provides an opportunity. Pain gives us the gift of growth in a hidden package. Something is shouting out for a change. If we pause and open this gift, a great secret of freedom and love can be revealed. Sometimes when the pain is large enough, we have no choice but to look at it anyway. My largest pains have helped to open the greatest growths in my life. Hey, it’s worth a shot, right?

Finding a healthy way to vent can even help to relieve anxiety, something more and more of us are suffering from in these times. Those who don’t find a healthy way of venting often stuff it inside until they explode one day or get into the habit of finding ways to numb themselves, such as eating. Venting can help to truly relieve stress, which is known to cause many ailments and “dis-eases” in our bodies.

Before true clarity can be reached on why something is happening, it is best to free up the strong energy that arises from the frustration of the situation. Once that energy has been expressed, you can rest in the stillness, while still connected to the power of emotion, to reach the greatest levels of clarity possible. It is here where our insight is at a natural high. With the power of the openness we have after pain, our greatest growth can happen. We can release the ties to these situations and grow beyond them.

Here are some ways to vent out the frustrations, sadness, and anger that arise as a normal part of growing and a healthy life:

  1. Cry. When you feel deeply sad, crying works beautifully. Often when we cry, we want a shoulder to cry on. If none is available, cry to yourself and receive it with love. Either way, allowing yourself the space to cry can work wonders on freeing up the stored up energy inside that is too much to contain within. While crying connect with the pain you feel and cry into it.
  2. Punch. If you feel very angry, you may feel the desire to hit something. A very healthy way of exerting this powerful energy is to punch a pillow. Hit the pillow like it’s the person/thing you are angry at. Yell and cuss at it as well if that helps to release that tension. Cuss words are great at opening up that stored up energy and getting to the root of your emotions. As you hit, smash into that frustration and feel exactly what aspects of it are making you angry.
  3. Write. Writing can help to clear the overwhelm of information in your head. It allows a pouring out of what is going on inside. Once you’ve written all you can, some things will still stand out or certain feelings may still be felt strongly. These are the largest lessons in the situation. Writing provides a great clarity that other ways may not give. You can easily reflect on what you were feeling in the situation once the emotion has passed in an effort to keep the lesson fresh in your mind and heart. Some people enjoy tearing up the pages after they’ve written as a way to exert their frustration. Molly Cook suggests capturing the emotions and negative energy in the paper, for your eyes only, as a private way to vent. Laurel Sutton recommends online communities such as Asshat! They allow a platform for transforming your frustration into an amusing rant and provide the opportunity for anonymous feedback, if desired.
  4. Exercise. Some of your most frustrating days in your life may turn out to be your best days in the gym. As Jen Olewinski so beautifully puts it, “Plus, getting in shape can’t be that bad right?” Running, boxing and walking all allow great ways to vent. Many spiritual people find their way into their deepest connections through opening the door to regular exercise. Exerting energy in this way, with a regular commitment to their health, opens them like nothing else.
  5. Talk. One woman told me the story of a nurse who rode the bus every day. She found a way to stay remarkably young-looking by letting go of anger immediately. She did not direct it at her family or others. Instead, she got on the bus and waited for a passenger to sit near. She’d ask if they minded listening to her and if not, she’d share her dilemma. Once she’d talked it out, she’d thank them and get off the bus. Often times, we can learn so much just by hearing ourselves speak and we don’t need much feedback at all. If you have a trusted confident or teacher, even better.
  6. Create Art. What better to do than to channel this energy into creating something beautiful? Pablo Solomon is an artist who bangs a hung of stone with a hammer and chisel to release his tension. He used the frustration of 9/11 to make it one of his most productive times ever.

So how do you vent? Please share. You may help someone else who will connect with what you do…

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