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Calming the God of War at Your Veterinary Practice

God of War
Mars, the God of War

Welcome to the Vets Against Insanity blog, possibly the only human written blog left on the planet.

I jest...but only slightly. 😑

It strikes me as humorous that this is the second blog I have written this year that references the Roman Empire. Maybe it is all the Roman Empire Tiktoks, maybe it is in the Percy Jackson reboot...whatever it is, here we are, talking about the Roman Empire...again.

The month of March is named for Mars, the Roman god of war. During the Roman Empire, March was the time of year where the weather was nice enough that the emperor could order military campaigns to 'march' off to battle. So of course they named the month March. methinks it needs a new name

Before Julius Caesar changed the new year to January (could be why the senators offed him), March was actually the beginning of the new year in the early Roman Empire. To me, it makes so much more sense to start the new year in March. Think spring, new beginnings, and the vernal equinox signaling longer days and summer is on the way. I actually wrote a blog about it.

Important God of War Dates

March 2 International Rescue Cat Day 🐈

March 8 is International Women’s Day 💃

March 10 is the start of Daylight Saving Time.

March 10 also marks the start of Ramadan. In Islam, Ramadan is considered a holy month when a month-long, sunrise-to-sunset fast is observed. 🌙

March 15 is the Ides of March. Legend surrounds this ill-fated day. Julius C. was murdered on this day. Beware the Ides of March! 🔪 🩸

March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day.  🍀🍻

March 19 brings about the March equinox—also called the vernal or spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere—marking the beginning of spring. In the southern hemisphere, this date marks the autumnal equinox and the beginning of fall. On this day, the sun stands directly over Earth’s equator. 🌅

March 24 is Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter and the last Sunday of Lent. 🌿

March 29 is Good Friday ✞

March 31 is Easter Sunday 👼

What to Do with the God of War, aka March

If you read my Julius Caesar post, you would know that I believe March is a great time to launch new year intentions or resolutions. (Need that post? Click here!) Mother nature will support you because she is also in the process of springing up new life. Is there something that you would like to work on and grow in your life? Now is a good time to start!

If you can't think of anything you would like to create, grow, expand, or nurture, then you could use this time to remove a bad habit from your life.

Part of the drama of being a human is what happens when we come across a circumstance that triggers us, makes us overthink, or causes emotional discomfort. When this happens, we tend to reach out to others humans we consider safe to try and relieve ourselves of the negative emotions that are weighing us down. This is called emotional dumping, or venting. Many veterinary professionals talk to me about wanting to discontinue the toxic habit of emotional dumping when something happens at work that they don't like.

god of War
Can anybody relate to this photo?

For example, you see a dog that needs dental work and a full lab workup, but the client declines it. You feel frustrated and go back to the doctor's office to vent about this irresponsible client.

Or, you deal with a reactive client who was really rude to you so you go back to the treatment area and tell a coworker about it.

Or, somebody leaves a mean review on Google, and you spend the better half of 10 minutes ranting to your coworkers about how you did your best and that person was an ignoramus.

Anything sound familiar? If it does congratulations and welcome to the human race. This is called venting, or emotional dumping, and even though it is generally accepted in human social and professional circles, it is a NOT a healthy coping mechanism.

Venting becomes extremely toxic as the person who is venting is often not in the head-space to hear any constructive remark or advice. The whole process often leaves no scope for resolution. Furthermore, you can't expect your coworkers, friends, family, or partner to be the correct headspace to receive your negative energy.

Venting is actually a hard habit to break because in the moment it feels so reinforcing. Somebody says or does something that you find offensive or scary or evil or whatever negative impression you experience, it stirs up negative energy in you and often causes you to feel psychologically threatened. That doesn't feel very good, so in order to feel better or feel validated, you go find a like-minded person and tell them your tale. What you are consciously looking for is reinforcement from your friend that you were right and the other person was 'bad' or 'wrong'. What is really going on, however, is your nervous system is subconsciously seeking an external stimulus that will tell your reactive midbrain that everything is 'all clear' and you can feel better. This seems all well and good, but in the process you are spreading toxicity and reinforcing your negative thoughts...and they will be back around again to cause suffering on another day.

Venting Causes Low Key Suffering

When you react negatively to something you hear, see, or read, your wellbeing suffers. Whatever good mood you were enjoying disappears when you engage in experiencing the negative thoughts and feelings and acting out the negative reaction. Negative mental and emotional states do equate to suffering, btw - just ask anybody who has anxiety or depression.

When you engage with others while in a negative mental/emotional space, you spread that negative energy to them, which can ruin their good vibe. Then they spread more negativity to others, and so on and so forth, on a toxic merry-go-round of human negativity and suffering.

March is a great time to learn to calm your own storm before venting to other people.

How to Tame the Verbal God of War, aka Venting

If you are in the habit of venting (or gossiping for that matter) to your coworkers, friends, or family and want to quit, then here are some steps:

  1. First, congratulate yourself for wanting to be a better human.

  2. Set an intention every day that you will not vent negative speech to other people.

  3. When you fail and vent, don't be hard on yourself. Just laugh at yourself and try again.

  4. If you catch yourself mid-vent, just stop talking and walk away. If the person asks you why you stopped talking, just say 'I was about to say something negative and unhelpful, and I am in the practice of improving my communication.' And then just walk away.

  5. If you feel tempted to vent just remember that you are subconsciously asking for care, understanding, and to be heard. Ask yourself 'What do I really need right now? How can I support myself right now?'

  6. Make sure you have an alternate way to process your thoughts and emotions that is healthy and productive - journaling, walking, exercise, talking to a therapist, whatever - just find what works and then use it.

  7. If you still need to process the situation with other people, then speak with a supervisor with the express purpose of processing the situation and finding a solution. Remember to keep the discussion solution oriented.

  8. Remember that venting is just a habit your brain uses to 'protect' you from other scary, mean humans, but it no longer serves you because you, my friend, are an evolved human that does not need your reactive midbrain running the show. You - in your logical cerebral hemispheres - are in charge. Remember that.

  9. Keep at it. Venting is a toxic yet self-reinforcing behavior that will require some time to extinguish. Be patient with yourself, like you would be patient with a reactive, fearful dog.

If you are a leader in your practice, hold a meeting to discuss this blog post, and make a commitment with your team to stop venting and instead, establish safe and healthy ways to process negative situations.

True power is suspending the negative reaction you habitually reach for and instead, sitting back and observing everything with logic. True power is restraint, responding instead of reacting, keeping your mental state clear and free of negativity, and mindfully managing yourself so you don't spread negative energy to others.

Remember it is no ones' job but yours to pull yourself out of your negative thoughts.

End the suffering. Tame the verbal God of War by removing the toxic habit of negative venting from your life. It may take a little time, but I guarantee you if you keep at it you will see positive changes in your workplace, in your coworkers, in your friends and family, and most importantly, in yourself.

From our slightly scandalous hearts to yours,

Sarah J. Wooten, DVM, CVJ and the Vets Against Insanity Crew 😆

sarah wooten

PS Please come join us in Nashvegas for the 2024 CON! There might even be togas.

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