It’s called “venting” and it’s healthy

There was a great article in the Guardian yesterday, called “How to be happy in life: let out your anger.” The article starts:

Conventional advice about keeping a stiff upper lip and staying cool can damage your career and lower your satisfaction in life, according to new research. If you want to be promoted and attain true happiness, you should get angry.

Read: it’s healthy to act a little less British, and a little less American. I mean, c’mon, the whole stiff upper lip thing is pretty much the gospel here. And it was the thing that nearly killed me when I first moved here. I made an effort to try to fit in with the stiff-upper-lipped-ones around me, such that I became totally repressed and frustrated, which then led to me in therapy. Now I try to just be my normal American self all the time, and don’t just pretend like everything is alright all the time. It works for me. But it does scare some of my colleagues.

So what are the ground rules for the release of this anger? I think most important is not complaining just for the sake of complaining–as much as I like the idea of “venting” I think (and the article seems to imply) that it’s only constructive if there’s a possibility that real change might come out of it. And it’s best to have a plan of how to go about actually making that change happen: have a solution in mind, not just a problem.

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7 responses to “It’s called “venting” and it’s healthy

  1. Wow that’s funny because what gets me about living in the USA is that everything has to be so bloody happy and positive all the time. Whenever i start to complain about anything there’s always some Polyanna reminding me of the upside. Perhaps it’s just the mid-west, but I always think that if Americans had a good moan once in a while, fewer of them would need therapists.
    (I might have to debate this on my Pond Parleys blog and have you over as a guest.)

  2. I saw that article and it made my day. I’m the only one in our office who swears and/or vents when I’m frustrated. I don’t think my co-workers know what to make of me.

  3. millymollymandy

    I’m an american who has lived in the UK for many years and LOVE the stiff upper lip! I hate to say it, but I now find the american venting/let it all hang out/see a psychiatrist for every problem as just plain childish. I’ve come to realise that there is a lot to be said for just getting on with it and not acting like a badtempered toddler whenever things go wrong – emotional self-discipline is a good thing, not a bad one!

  4. wilma the terrible

    I think the first rule is – go home and kick the cat, hurl a vase across the room, jump up and down on a kilo bag of tomato, do whatever you like but dont “vent” at work. The golden rule is ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’, and Britons will think less of you for losing your temper in public. Whether you agree with this or not , you dont do yourself any favors by going against the grain on this one.

  5. Pingback: On the cross-culture divide « Not From Around Here

  6. > But it does scare some of my colleagues.

    I would be really surprised if it *scared* them.

  7. Pingback: Keep calm and carry on « Not From Around Here

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