In an automobile, although the engine is the component that propels the vehicle, what keeps it mobile are its wheels. Maintaining an ideal pressure while inflating the tyres ensures that they are not subjected to additional tension. However, what happens if the air pressure exceeds the prescribed limit? The tyre will eventually burst.
The above anecdote has a strong correlation with human behaviour. Workplaces can get stressful, sometimes even ruthless. Workplace stress is for real and must be taken seriously. An alarming fact by the American Institute of Stress states that 83% of employees suffer from work-related stress ailments in the USA. There are several coping mechanisms that an employee can follow to keep up with day-to-day stress. One that is most commonly known and used is venting.
Referring to the anecdote shared above, if the air pressure while inflating the tyre increases, it can be normalized by letting the additional air escape by adjusting the nozzle, essentially by letting the air ‘vent’ out. Employees too try to vent out their additional stress by sharing it with people who are around, which in most cases are their co-workers. Venting is a very common phenomenon, and in many typical cases it’s unavoidable! There can be circumstances where an employee loves the job, but sometimes, the frustration gets the better of them, resulting in venting out!
While venting out can make you feel surprisingly better, it also has some side effects. Venting constantly can result in some uninvited repercussions. The excessive negativity attached with constant complaining can eventually bring down your co-workers’ morale who might otherwise be quite happy with their jobs.
But hey, this doesn’t mean that one must let the stress pile up. Here are some ways in which venting can also be turned into something productive:
Doing it the Lincoln way!
Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest leaders and the most celebrated American presidents ever. He followed a very interesting methodology called ‘Hot Letters’ when he got angry. Whenever he was frustrated due to the actions of his subordinates, instead of lashing out at them, he wrote them an angry letter.
But the interesting part is, he never sent out those letters! He wrote the angry letters and then either burned them or simply filed them away. This not only helped him vent out but also made him more empathetic towards them.
Conversing with a critic
A loyal customer is not the best person to learn about your product’s flaws. Venting out to a critic can prove to be very helpful because they can help you look at the same problem from a different perspective. A critic will make you think and reflect on your actions while helping you to reach a conclusion.
Don’t become the constant complainer
Venting provides an outlet to the piled-up stress. But, constantly venting about something eventually starts affecting your workplace reputation. People start seeing you as a ‘complainer’ and trust me, one cannot get rid of such reputations easily. Before venting out too much, one must think about the kind of ‘image’ they want to create for themselves in their workplace, and a complainer certainly cannot be a desirable one.
Carrying out such a conversation in a private setting, in a low tone of voice and reducing the frequency of venting to the same person can help significantly.
Taking a time-out
Spending time with yourself can turn out to be a great coping mechanism for stress. It can help you reflect on the events that have taken place and gain positive insights from them.
Achieving the balance
Psychology says that it’s easier to complain than to retrospect and analyse. Releasing negative emotions can significantly impact one’s overall wellbeing. But, balancing it out by ‘positive’ venting can help achieve the right equilibrium and thus, increase productivity.
Read this space to understand more about coping with stress at work.