Summary: Learn why venting is no good for us or for others around us and experience two motions which allow you to move challenging emotions through and out.
- [00:00] Intro and venting and our health
- [07:48] Venting and the health of others around us
- [11:55] What to do instead
- [13:32] Motion – Middle Finger Hold
- [15:04} Motion – Liver Hold
- [16:51] “Venting is like farting in an elevator.”
- [19:40] recap
- [21:22] LESS STRESS/MORE COMFORT online course + sign-off
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Hello, and welcome to Move Into Resilience. I’m your host Pamela Stokes. In today’s episode we’ll learn why venting is no good. And we will learn a couple of different motions that you can do to help process your tough emotions. So let’s begin.
Hello, my friends. Pamela here. Thanks for joining me. In today’s episode I’m going to dispel another myth. It’s kind of a Mythbusters season, Season 2, and that is getting something off of your chest, or letting it spill out, or venting/ranting as being something that’s good for us. And I’m here to tell you it does no good. Not for yourself and not for the people around you. When we feel a strong emotion, let’s say rage or anger, it’s important to feel that emotion, yes. But to feel it in a way that allows us to end up with a calmed state. That way we have actually processed that emotion. We have gone from heightened sense of alert to a place where we have found ease and comfort. When we vent, or rant, or let it all out, we don’t do any of that. There’s no calming. In fact, what happens when we raise our voice, we actually end up going into more of a constricted state which sends signals through our nervous system that there is a problem. This in turn causes a cascade of all of the stress hormones that signal there is a physical alert—physiological changes occur. We get heightened adrenaline and cortisol, stress molecules. And because those are being produced, the good healthy chemicals and molecules, hormones and so forth, aren’t. Our body has the ability to make either adrenaline or healthy hormones because the pieces—they’re called precursors—the precursors for adrenaline are the same as they are for other healthy molecules, non stress-related molecules that our body needs to function. So if there’s a signal that it’s time to make adrenaline now, the bits and pieces that would be needed for the other healthy or health-inducing molecules can’t be made. That manufacturing process is turned off and instead those precursors will become adrenaline.
When adrenaline is being made, and cortisol, a lot of different things happen: our heart rate goes up; our breathing rate goes up; the pressure of the blood inside of the vessels increases (that’s blood pressure); and our heart goes out of coherence. All of these things signal there’s a big problem and we need to now be on high alert, and we’ve got to turn off our digestive system; turn off our cognitive functioning so that we can either fight or flee. We get activated. This is the sympathetic nervous system that makes this happen. Now I’m not saying that if you’re angry about something that it’s not justified or that you shouldn’t feel it. And in fact, if we stuff down anger there’s a big problem with that, too. So what can we do? Anger is an important emotion. It is important because it’s telling us there’s something to solve. There’s a problem that we need to solve. However, if we are angry about something that can’t be fixed or can’t be changed—it’s just the way it is—we will have to learn how to modify our reaction; slow things down; take a pause; take a break and move on into a different way of looking at it. Now if it is a situation where we actually can do something, take some action, the anger will actually get us a little bit motivated to do that. And we could take some action. So if there’s an injustice and you need to speak up. If someone is putting you down and you want to stand your ground. Things like that where you can actually do something, not violent, but speak your peace. That’s all well and good. And stuffing anger down is a terrible thing to do. When we stuff our emotions, and especially anger and rage, when we stuff that inside and say, Oh I better not reveal this I better not let this out. It might be harmful to others—while I appreciate the sentiment, it’s also not good for your body. Because unless we process that, unless we allow ourselves to feel it and accept the feelings, it will stay inside of us and still have the same physiological responses. So it’s not doing us any good to stuff it away. So what I thought I would do today is to show you a particular motion that can help with the processing of anger so that you don’t need to vent. And we’ll get into that in a little bit. But before that, I wanted to talk about venting a little more as far as why is it so bad?
Well, I’ve already talked about why venting isn’t good for ourselves when we are saying these things out loud and our voice is raised and all of that can happen, but also for the people around us. We are a social species. We are designed to be in groups and, therefore, we have a lot of different capacities and abilities to detect how each of us is feeling around us. We have the ability to detect that, whether it’s consciously noted or not. Our bodies can detect when there is bad energy around us. We’re very able to detect somebody’s not feeling so good. We can detect that with our nervous system. Our body can detect it. And because of this, if someone’s venting, it’s amplified. So not only are we able to detect their energy, we’re also, because of the loudness of the sounds and maybe the pitch or the frequency of the words that are being used—the musical pitch. If it’s high up or low down, out of our regular speaking range, that sends a message that there’s a problem. So keeping our voice within a normal range of our speaking voice indicates wellness. If we’re above that or below that,that’s a signal that there’s a problem. So we’re reading all of this; we’re hearing these words; we’re sensing the emotion that the other person is feeling. So we are responding to other people’s venting whether or not they intend for that to happen—I don’t believe they do—but I’m here to let you know, if you care about yourself (your own physical health) and/or you care about other people around you, you’ll stop venting. And I’ll show you instead ways that you can allow yourself to feel these emotions, allow yourself to process them through, and move on. Either take some action if something can be done, or move on and do something else because there isn’t anything that you can do. For example, if you are hearing a sound that’s not pleasant to you, like the backing-up sound of a truck and you have to hear it a lot of times in a day because there’s a construction project going on nearby, there’s not a lot you can do about that. So getting angry and venting and stomping around isn’t going to solve anything, and in fact it will get your physiology more riled up as well as the people around you. So I’m here to say venting is no good. It doesn’t serve you, the venter, any good. It also doesn’t help anyone around you. So what can we do?
Well, there’s a few things that we can do. We can take a pause, that’s the first thing. Slow down, take a pause. And this could just be for a breath. Just give yourself a little time. And in the previous episodes that I’ve done there are many tools that you could choose from. From an episode just a couple of episodes ago, “NO PAIN NO GAIN?” , we did the QUICK SHAKE. That’s a great way to move emotions through you. And from another episode we used the CALMING HAND, which is where you place your thumb on one side underneath your collarbone and your fingers on the other side underneath the other collarbone and hold your hand on your chest. That is another way to help yourself feel better in the moment. There’s also CONSCIOUS BREATHING aka 3-4-3 BREATHING, which is a nice way to bring yourself into a more balanced state between the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system so that you have this nice balance. So that’s also helpful. And then I wanted to show you a couple of things today that you can do as well.
So let’s get into it. The first activity that we’re going to do today involves using your hands. You’re going to make a tube with the fingers and thumb of one hand and put that tube around your middle finger of the other hand. In the art of Jin Shin Jyutsu, this is a technique that allows you to hold acupoints on your body. And remember, acupoints are places on your body that have a higher electrical conductivity than places nearby. So what we’re doing is we’re making a circuit, an electrical circuit, and this electrical circuit sends a message that all is well. Now the middle finger represents anger. It’s kind of funny isn’t it? I think too that we associate the middle finger as a gesture, but it’s actually one of the places where you can hold and reduce the feeling of anger. So just making that tube with one hand and placing it around the middle finger of the other hand and just holding gently, this will help to calm you and to reduce the feelings of anger. And the more we use this the more effective it is. It’s cumulative. So that’s our first activity. Pretty simple.
The second activity, the second motion, is we’re going to be again involving the acupoints of our body and also one of our organs—the liver. The liver has been described as a place in our body where we can hold a lot of emotion and especially anger, so by bringing your left palm to your right ribs, you will be in contact with your liver. The liver is a very large organ and it does a lot of good things for us. It processes fats and toxins, and produces bile. And one of the things that we know is when we have a lot of anger, the liver is affected. When you have your palm on your right ribs, your left palm on your right ribs, you just hold it gently. You could give it a little pat and pat your liver. And you can say things in your mind or out loud. “Thank you, liver. I appreciate you, liver. Thanks for keeping me well.” Things like that. And just send yourself, send your liver, some appreciation. What we’re doing here by doing this patting or holding of the liver is we’re giving ourselves a little contact, a little connection. And because we’re using the acupoints of the liver in that area, we are sending a message that all is well and the anger will subside.
One of the things I mentioned earlier is coherence—heart coherence. When we feel emotions around anger, frustration, irritation, things like that, our heart goes out of coherence. In other words, the heart rate is not smooth. And when the heart rate is not smooth, that sends a signal up to the brain that there’s a problem and we need to take care of it. And then physiological responses happen. So even just the emotions that are tough, they’re tough for a reason. They’re there to alert us to do something. And doing something is feeling it, recognizing it. If there’s an action we can take, taking that action and letting that emotion move through us. And you may remember from a previous episode, emotion is actually a coined term from “energy in motion”. Energy in motion, meaning things are moving. So venting doesn’t move it. Venting just sprays it out there and it also gets us all hyped up. And in doing my research for this show, I thought it was funny that there was a person that was interviewed for an article that was being written about anger and whether or not the expression of anger was a good thing. And basically the article said “No. venting is not good.” And I concur with that. And the person that they were talking about said, “Venting is like farting in an elevator.” You know, thanks a lot. And so if you can think of it that way, you’ll realize it is not doing you any good; it’s not doing anyone around you any good. So using this technique of holding your middle finger with the tube of the other hand, and you can use either hand or both, you can switch it off, and just holding there for a few breaths and slowing down and taking a break. And then also the other hold that we had which was the left palm reaching over to the right ribs, the lower ribs. And at the bottom of those lower ribs, that’s where the liver is. And so you’re in contact with the liver and the liver is the seat of our anger.
So that’s what we have learned today. Venting is no good. Please don’t do it any longer. It is not healthy for you. It is not healthy for the people around you. It doesn’t help you process the emotions, and you won’t feel better. You may think you are, but you’re actually not. What’s happening inside of you, all these different molecules that are healthy molecules are not being manufactured so that we can make adrenaline and cortisol to feel this way. Take a pause; slow it down; take a breath; hold your finger; hold your liver; say thank you; express some gratitude for the fact that you are still breathing and you’re still here. And know that this will pass. And if you need to take action and you can take action, you’ll be in a better place to do that because once we come out of these difficult emotions, our brain works better. When we are in a fight/flight/freeze kind of situation, our cognition is slowed down, way down, and so we don’t think as clearly. And let’s see if we can help ourselves to find ways to process our strong emotions so that we’re not “farting in the elevator” so to speak. And we can handle our emotions with grace and ease.
I also wanted to let you know about an opportunity for joining me in an online course called LESS STRESS/MORE COMFORT. It includes three private sessions with me. And we can work through old issues that you may have had, new issues that you have, things that are bothering you with regard to emotion and perhaps even traumatic events. Plus, there are 25 or so of these motions that we have been doing in this series, in this show, Move Into Resilience. And there are videos and PDFs and all that sort of thing, so there’s a lot of information plus the private sessions with me. I hope you’ll join me in that. And you can find out more at Move Into Resilience.com and the course is called LESS STRESS/MORE COMFORT because that’s what it provides. Thanks for joining me today and send yourself some appreciation for joining in. This has been Move Into Resilience. Find out more at MoveIntoResilience.com I’m Pamela Stokes. Take it easy!