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Do you feel better after you vent?

There's a reason my teakettle whistles. That little vent on the spout is a necessity that keeps my kettle from melting and my kitchen from burning down. Venting is a critical safety feature and, for me, a necessity.

We'd be fools to deny the reality that life's accumulating pressures build up and every one of us needs to vent just like that teakettle. We even use the same language to describe our stress: he's doing a slow burn; I could see she was boiling mad; I feel like I'm about to burst. Pent-up pressure needs a release valve. The trick is to make sure you know how to release pressure in your life without getting yourself or anyone around you burned or hurt. Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid a meltdown. Some are good. Some are not. Which do you chose?

Here are some of the good ones: Talking to friends. Finding comedy in the situation or something to make you laugh. Exercise. Being outdoors. Petting your dog or cat or bird or snake (if you have a pet snake, you must love it, right?).

Here are some of the not-so-good ones: Sending an angry letter. Damaging property. Posting snarky comments on social media. Drinking heavily. Fighting with someone -- anyone.

Look, life will give you plenty of good reasons to be mad. Or hurt. Or frustrated, or sad. If that wasn't happening then you wouldn't be alive. It's just how life is. So, think about it; it isn't the anger (pain, sorrow, etc.) that's the problem. It's how you handle it. Remember that you always get to choose.

Choose wisely. Choose with compassion for yourself. Choose as if your life depends on it. (Spoiler alert: It does.) Because it's your life. And you get to choose how you want to live it.

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