Mynlo | The Vent Journal

The Vent Journal - Your Best Bet to Emotional Health

Write down your mood or feelings and feel okay with it.

Updated: 04/03/2019

What is a Vent Journal and Why You Should Definitely Write In It

There exists a mainstream opinion of why to keep a diary. Some common beliefs include: Diaries are for your happy days. You should only write in it when something fascinating good is happening in your life. Your entries should be always interesting to read and definitely not boring. A diary will help you improve your grammar and spelling, so pay attention to it when you write.

You should know, this isn't the only path available.

Good doesn't exists without evil. You are not happiness alone. On the contrary, the world has a lot of struggles and pain to deliver, so most probably a lot of negative pressure adds up in your psyche over time. Probably you haven't heard of it before. A vent journal or vent diary also called a mood diary. This is a dark days journal. You can use whatever "language" you like in it, be absolutely straight and honest about your feelings and add to it your whole negativity.

When you ever will make a try reading your past entries from such a journal two things can happen. First, your griminess will make you laugh out loud and you will looking at it back with a light irritation, how those problems troubled you in such an extend. Second, it will make you aware how much negativity all the time is around you and that problems don't vanish but change in content. The only power you really have is to choose which kind of problems you want to deal with.

If you would be a Star Wars character, this is the other side of writing a diary. A way to release stress from your body by writing down what bothers you. This is a journal for those moments where you feel like you want to scream or are dealing with someone/something that required a composed demeanor while leaving you boiling inside. Let's be honest to each other, we all have moments of anger, frustration, irritation - and the ensuing desire to lash out verbally is often hard to contain.

A vent journal is heavily connected to your emotional frameset. The good thing is, you are a human being and emotions are an integral part of you. Without them you couldn't take even one decision. They are your motivator to do things, or avoid doing them. Memories attached to your emotions are much more easier to remember, but over time it's difficult to replicate the same emotion in your brain, as a result that even you remember the actual memory, it will feel different. Therefore having saved your emotional outburst in detail will give you a realistic trip into the past, making your memory being reactivated from a far distant future.

So, when do you know you are feeling an emotion?* You can distinguish it when one of those three things are happening to you:

  • A bodily sensation is happening, such as an increased heart beat rate.
  • Thoughts are coming into your mind that are hard to stop
  • You find yourself acting or feeling like acting emotionally

You can recognize a mood when a feeling you have lasts for more than about one hour.

Common Stress Beliefs and the Obligation to Feel Good

The truth is, you haven't been raised to deal with your stress the way a vent journal works. This is a reason you question it's effectiveness and are still a believer in dealing with your stress the "zen" way. The main ingredient of the zen way is to cover your struggles under a coat of feel good belief. You are telling yourself that everything is fine and the few times adversity really hits it's just bad luck and everything will work out just fine.

The majority of men face this reality and sometimes they look for substitute ways of getting steam out, which results in hurt feelings, a shrewd family balance or excess behavior. Women find it easier to communicate their struggles and feelings to other humans, but after the talk, they take their issue to be resolved just by sharing. Maybe they even expect the listening partner will resolve the issue for them. This is something we often forget, you alone are responsible to solve your emotional issues and not someone else, because resolving them makes you happy, makes you feel reliable.

Your life to a high degree evolves around this: From the get go of your day, even before you made your coffee, you have to be perfect, responding to some "important" emails which cannot wait, smile all day, agree to everything, be friends with everyone, with your enemies more and seek more opportunities, more fitness utensils, kitchen utensils, this new green tea sort with menthol and chives. More from everything. Basically you don't have time for having a bad mood, you have to be happy because that's what your society expects.

Why, destroying the perfect image you have build? Those bad moments flashing out at some points of your life can be ignored and kept under control by keeping a positive mantra and talking to yourself in front of the mirror. Funny thing, you never can keep a positive diary going for long for the main reason, you don't have everyday positive things knocking on your door.

I hope you did visited today your Facebook account. Everyone is having a blast of a time. Happy pairs kissing and having fun in harmony and happiness. Birthday wishes being shared while they blow out the candles. Marriages made on the Niagara falls. Beautiful blonds showing their amazing body and cute guys their six-packs. People sharing their images from exotic destinations or some really cool invention.

This bombardment of perfect moments and people can make you feel like being a human which is lacking something. Keeping up with it yourself is a task of impossibility. It's difficult to admit, but you don't feel okay when you have to be all the time positive.

Not to mention the fact, that you have only one Birthday per year, limited resources of money, married only once (or twice), have time to travel to only some nearby destination, or taking off two weeks a year. You can buy 10 perfect hair trimmers, but you will still use one, and building the perfect body takes time, pain and it will not make you feel appreciated for your inner values.

To a vast majority, your day was probably average, mildly boring at best and the most exciting thing you did today was that you avoided getting more depressed than you were yesterday. Hooray! You innocently raised your stress level without taking notice. This feeling you have when you are overloaded and struggling to cope with demands. Never ever again in history had the humanity such big stress levels measured.

Whenever you face a real or perceived challenge your body responses physical to prepare you to deal with your issue. Stress isn't your enemy, it is a motivator. Stress wasn't intended to bother you all the time, but is a safety mechanism by nature to prepare you for a life threatening situation in the short-term. Stress causes hormonal, respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous system changes. It will give you an energy kick to challenge your fear or any other feeling.

Create Self-Awareness with Writing

I will tell you. Life isn't kind to you. What a surprise! Believe me, you are not alone. Usually the good or bad extremes make it through the news channels or social streams. Usually average stuff doesn't get shared and isn't getting many likes. I don't share a photo of me sitting at home for each day of the year, that I do. Then even if I did, the probability of getting viral with those kind of posts are minimal at best.

Maybe you are one of those people with high energy in them, who actively seek these extreme experiences. There's nothing wrong with it, but you might not feel happy long enough when you seek those excitements. I remember being greatly fascinated when I had the opportunity to get drunk the first time. After the fiftieth time it was still great to do, but not so fascinating as the first time. When you hit the thousand time, it is just routine. Feelings can become muted. On the same level, fleeting high excitement experiences are short term patches and work only for a short time. To get to a more deeper level of satisfaction you have to dedicate more time to one thing alone. You will need to say, no to other options.

To get a gasp of what you should embrace and what to avoid, you will need to hear yourself a bit. Feelings are a great source of guidance. That's their sole purpose. Helping you getting to better decisions in your favor and then maybe the common good. Of course you cannot follow every emotion you have because society has created some rules over the centuries which help keep most of us alive. Taking those destructive emotions away, for example when you want to kill somebody when he eats your chocolate muffins (Nick, I hope you are reading this and stop eating my muffins), leaves you with the ones you can "work" with.

Writing in a vent journal, has the power to make you self-aware of your emotions and thoughts. It will help you to steam away your frustrations, dealing with your emotions, understanding your issue and accepting yourself as who you are. I've been an introvert since I'm able to think and therefore had an issue having a lot of friends and girlfriends. This created frustration, self-doubt and envy against other people who had seemingly an easy task to acquire friends.

I started to write about it in my journal, I filled many pages after a few years which circled around the same topic. Then I got a revelation, that I was pushed to feeling unsecure because I was afraid. I became self-aware of my fear to get hurt by other people, to judge wrongly their intentions or just not being that "special" person I believed to be. Getting out of my comfort zone would mean I would need to get tested in real life scenarios. It meant pain was on the road. And changes. We are inclined to fear changes especially if the story you created for yourself is in danger. I preferred to remain secure and keep telling me how special I was at that time.

After I understood my issue, I would sit down and look for solutions. I can tell you there were many solutions and theoretically they would surely work. The best among all was, walking out of my door and talk to someone stranger. I actually did. But it didn't make me feel comfortable as many times as I tried it out. At least my journal entries changed direction, became sort of kind flaming self talks about "What's wrong with me???".

I did talk so much about becoming comfortable talking to people for more than five minutes, that the most obvious solution was ignored. No one cared about my situation. Yes, I was closed in myself, so what! Everyone was so occupied with their own problems. It didn't really matter to them. Still it did matter alone for me big time. The obvious solution now, wasn't to figure out how to talk to strangers, but how to accept yourself for not seeking contact. I tried to accept myself for what I was and just let things happen. I'm in the middle of this fight and probably will be for the rest of my life, but this approach challenged me to sort things out to where they truly belong.

How Many Times Did You Tried to Start a Diary?

I've did it a lot of times. Yes me. I've failed every time to keep up with it. You don't really have a motivation to write when you think all the time how to please everyone else or even yourself as this somebody could read your entries in future. I was seeking to put in writing all my positive moments and started out great, but lost steam after a while. Success in life was coupled with success keeping a diary. It didn't last.

When thinking about it after a bit, my conclusion was that I restricted myself from talking freely about anything that bothered me. This created a vicious cycle coming from depressing my bad feelings and events which in the end made me even more feeling sad. My brain worked all the time and my job was to shut it down concentrating on the good stuff, but somehow it didn't get the memo. My brain survived thousands of years by sharing mistakes and sad events, so everyone could avoid them in future.

Then there was another point which made me quit writing a diary. I pushed myself too hard keeping up with it, imposed myself with a self-discipline mantra against my own good. It worked for two days, then for one week, I even reached one month at another try, but felt so bad and sad at the moment, because I grinded my entries through, that I gave at some point up. I had good reasons, self protecting me from unnecessary pain. Not to mention that this method, increased my anxiousness and the feeling of failure.

Here you have a perfect mixture why not to keep up with your diary. Add to it procrastination which is couplet with the emotion of doubt and you surely will find ways to distract you from writing even one line on your diary. Believe me, you don't procrastinate because you are a lazy boom, no it's not that. You do it because you don't buy the plan. You can stay in front of a mirror and say you are successful and beautiful, 3 times a day, seven days a week. You will hope your brain will "get it" and believe it after you keep doing it, perseverance is regarded a virtue, but you can't fool your emotions. If you would feel successful and beautiful you would just be it. No need to confirm it on your mirror. Do you think Bill Gates needs to remind himself three times a day he is rich? Hell no!

What to Expect From Your Vent Journal

Besides getting some steam out, venting your emotions in written style can have other positive aspects. Venting in a journal before finding someone innocent to yell and scream at, avoids hurting others feelings and opening up old stories which contribute only to make both parties feel worse. By committing to put your thoughts in words, you create time for yourself to understand your situation. You shred some necessary light on, getting an "outside" view of your issue when you start this inner conversation. Your journal becomes and should be a safe place, to validate your feelings and thoughts. You get a chance to think on a matter before you act upon, which will ultimately benefit you on many occasions.

Your journal is a perfect listening partner who doesn't shows any reaction, doesn't critic you whatever your opinion is, doesn't judge you when you commit a mistake and the best, you don't have to deliver explanations or apologies the next day. You can write on it, putting aside, every barrier that could hold you back, like paying attention to your spelling. It can be messy and only understandable by you and that's okay as for who would you revise and edit your entries anyway?

This freedom of being fine with yourself, your emotions and actions, will reduce the level of stress and displeasure within you. A mood journal is such a powerful tool to increase your self-worth, that it's a shame people believe, writing a diary or a journal should be done only if you did something remarkable. Sure, there should be a place for those outstanding achievements to be recorded and definitely you should do it, but your struggles and the venting act of putting emotions clear and free out of your system, are the pillars which will give you the most benefit.

There has been made a study from Doctor Matthew Lieberman, a psychologist at the University of California in Los Angeles in the past which contributes to this believe. By writing and venting at the same time you are achieving to control the intensity of your emotions. This is totally different from the aspect of expecting some sort of catharsis when writing down your emotions. It isn't about seeing an emotional problem through a different light which offers the most positive advantage. As Doctor Lieberman said,

"Writing seems to help the brain regulate emotion unintentionally. Whether it's writing things down in a diary, writing bad poetry, or making up song lyrics that should never be played on the radio, it seems to help people emotionally".

In the end, you can keep a diary in good times or bad, maybe for both. This decision is up to you. It doesn't matter if you have to feel down to start writing an entry or when you are in a good mood. You should start a journal when writing in it, feels right.

Other blog posts:

What is a diary and why keeping one is doing you good.

How to Write a Diary - Your Guide to Mastering a Long Diary Writing Career

The Difference between Emotions and Feelings.

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*Book: Mick Power - Emotion Focused Cognitive Therapy - Wiley Publishing