Is it safe to vent your Blow Off Valve to atmosphere? [GO FAST BRETT]
How to Spot Ineffective Complaining
1. Notice when you’re not doing yourself any favors.
If you’re itemizing your woes to a person who can’t do anything to help, you’re not interested in seeking a solution, or you’re totally avoiding any and all attempts to process how you’re feeling, you’re likely not complaining effectively, Martin explains.
2. Check in with yourself at the bodily level.
Does your heart rate or blood pressure remain cranked up well after you’ve aired your presumed grievances? Are your face, shoulders and jaw feeling tense, or has your breathing grown shallower? All of these are signs you’re increasing your own misery rather than truly alleviating it.
3. Take note of others' reactions.
Do people draw away from you, cower, or react angrily in response to your griping? “If others become defensive around you, this may be a sign you’re coming on too strong,” Bushman says.
4. Pay attention to long-term outcomes.
Have you been ruminating over the same problem(s) for weeks or months with no solution in store, or are unable to make any headway in solving those issues? If so, you may need to get clearer on what, exactly, you need to feel better—and how you’re going about getting it, says San Bolkan, Ph.D., professor of communication studies at California State University, Long Beach.
The Better Way to Complain
1. Figure out what you actually want.
Bolkan’s on consumer complaints shows that many people skip the crucial step of stating how they’d like to see a recent wrong redressed. Do yourself a favor and clarify what you see as the issue and what you envision the best solution might be. (Writing these basic facts down and consulting with a trusted friend can help aid this process.)
2. Talk to the right person.
Once you’ve figured out what’s upsetting you and what you’d like to change, you’ll have a better idea of who can actually help make things right, Bolkan says. Approach them with your grievance rather than offloading your unhappiness onto people who can’t resolve your problem, and you’re much more likely to get your needs met.
3. Don’t be hostile.
No matter how rightfully P.O.’d you are, being a jerk is not only unnecessary, it can make people far less willing to assist you and more likely to keep their distance. “When people are hostile, they can trigger defensive reactions as opposed to reactions that might better facilitate the resolution of a problem,” Bolkan says.
Be mindful of the tone of your voice, your body language, and your inclination to blame a particular person (i.e., not yourself).
Remember: The less overwhelmed others feel by our emotions, the more willing they are to listen. So be mindful of the tone of your voice, your body language, and your inclination to blame a particular person (i.e., not yourself).
Most importantly, remember to thank whoever offers you any assistance. Not only will this reinforce their willingness to help you out in the future, but being grateful also helps free you from ruminating and, as a result, helps make your problem-solving more effective.
Negativity can spread faster between people than the most viral video of hamsters eating tiny burritos. Save yourself (and your loved ones) from further misery by working on self-regulation and seeking clearer solutions to resolve whatever it is you see wrong. Not only will this benefit all your relationships, but the better you become at avoiding rumination, anxiety, and rage, the healthier you’ll be in the long haul.
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