Venting Theory Outdated

>> Sunday

I USED TO THINK it was healthy to express anger and unhealthy to hold it in, so I said what was on my mind when I was angry. Of course, I hurt people’s feelings — unnecessarily.

Anger can be a dangerous and destructive emotion. Although you can’t eliminate the emotion from your life, the way you respond to it can make it less dangerous and more constructive.

Research has shown that expressing anger only makes you angrier. But that doesn’t mean we should avoid saying anything about what makes us angry. It’s just that we should avoid saying it while we’re angry. It doesn’t do much good anyway: The person listening to you only sees and hears your anger and puts up her defenses right away. Nothing gets through. And she gets a very bad impression of you.

But you need to say something. So follow these two rules and you’ll do yourself and other people a big favor:

1. Make it your personal policy not to say much or decide anything while you’re angry. Leave it alone, go on about your business, and the intensity will subside. Then think about what you need to do or say or decide. If you’ve calmed down and decided to talk to someone but find you can’t seem to say it without getting angry again, write it in a letter.

2. Say what you want, not what you don’t want. Say your complaints in the form of requests. Instead of “You never do such and such,” say “Would you please do such and such?” It’s easier to hear. It’s more likely to cause the effect you want. Say clearly what you want and why you want it.

USUALLY YOU’RE ANGRY because you want someone to change — to do something different than what they’re doing. That’s perfectly legitimate. What you want is to have an impact on the other, which, according to the research, is what will really and truly clear up your anger. Not venting, but not remaining silent either.

Those two steps will help you effectively cause change in other people while reducing the amount of anger you experience over time. Even when you make a request and someone says no, you’ll feel better. At least now they know what you want. You’ve said it. It’s off your chest.

This is a good way to increase others’ respect for you while also making things go the way you want more often. Turn complaints into requests and make those requests when you are calm.

This is a chapter from Principles for Personal Growth.


Fasting for Depression: A New Study Needs Volunteers

>> Saturday

AS YOU MAY remember, I've written about fasting before on Moodraiser (Fasting Is Good For Your Health) and elsewhere because it's good for your health, and most things good for your physical health are also good for your mental health and moods.

If you'd like to try fasting, or if you've done it before and you're ready for another fast, I have a unique opportunity for you, courtesy of a message I received from a PhD candidate yesterday who is looking for volunteers for a study she is conducting:

Dear Adam Khan,

My name is Randi Fredricks and I am a PhD candidate at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California ( I am conducting my doctoral dissertation research on the effects of water fasting on depression. I have done a great deal of investigation in this area and believe that my research will show that water fasting can relieve the symptoms of depression. I am aware of your work and your knowledge about the benefits of fasting, so I thought you would be interested in my research.

If you know anyone between 18 and 75 years of age who will be doing a water-only fast for a period of at least 5 days, I would like to invite them to participate in my research. All testing will be online so the testing can be done anywhere. The online testing should take about 15 minutes to complete.

At the end of the study, all participants who have completed the study will be entered into a drawing to give away three iPods.

If you have any questions, please contact me by phone at (408)315-0645 or (800)957-5655, or by email at

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to completion of my research and to reading the results in a number of peer-reviewed journals, thus further supporting the application of fasting.


Randi Fredricks, MFT
1711 Hamilton Ave Suite A
San Jose, CA 95125
Office (800)957-5655
Cell (408)315-0645

If you're interested, I urge you to participate in this research to help scientists discover more about the effects of fasting. Or at least find out more about the experiment before you decide. Go to the web site and read more about it or email Randi Fredricks and get your questions answered.

If fasting is as good for physical and mental health as its reputation says it is (and the research so far supports it) fasting would be a great thing to practice and promote. It costs no money — in fact, you save money by not buying food, it gives you more time (it's amazing how much more time in a day you have when you're not eating), and you lose weight and look better too. And if you participate in the research, you may also win an iPod.

Editor's update, November 6th, 2010: The researcher has completed her study and needs no more volunteers.


World Smile Day Today

>> Friday

ONE VERY good way to raise your mood is to raise someone else's mood. This is a method available to you almost anywhere and almost anytime.

The first Friday of every October is World Smile Day, a celebration created by Harvey Ball, the man who invented the original "smiley face" back in 1963.

To celebrate this day, all you have to do is make someone smile today. Notice how it improves your mood when you do.



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