Self Improvement
Self Improvement

To All the Mortals, Why Complaining is Bad for Your Health

Why Complaining is Bad for Your Health

Complaining not only ruins everybody else’s day, it ruins the complainer’s day, too. The more we complain, the more unhappy we get.
― Dennis Prager
The term ‘negativity bias’ refers to the psychological phenomenon based on our tendency to pay more attention to negative entities, which might be in the form of events, traits, objects, etc. Studies have proved that the brain’s reaction to negative stimuli is far more intense than the positive stimuli. We are more likely to remember or focus on negative things than positive ones.

A study conducted by the Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany revealed that being in the presence of negative people or people who are complaining constantly caused the subjects’ brains to have the same emotional reactions that they experienced when they were under stress. If complaining evokes similar response in the brain as stress, it’s certainly not good for your health.

Why Do We Complain?
angry boss
There are times when nothing seems to be working in our favor. We may use complaining as a coping mechanism when we are genuinely unhappy. However, there are times when we don’t put in our best foot forward, and just want things to work our way. We may try to cover for our failings by complaining about the unfairness of it all. These are expressive complaints where the complainer just wants to vent out his/her feelings, with no real intention of solving the problem. The complainer wants to release the pent-up frustration or anger, and expects sympathy and acknowledgment from the listeners. At times, complaints might be instrumental in nature, and might be directed at someone with an objective in mind.

Sometimes, we use complaints as a conversation starter. Conversations that start with a complaint often have a domino effect. Complaining can be contagious. It may cause the listener to include his/her complaints in the conversation as well. Though this may make you feel better, as you may think that you are not the only one facing problems, you are not really looking for solutions. When you are always focusing on the negative, it can become extremely difficult to think about the positive. Those who complain are less likely to enjoy life, whereas people who focus on the positive aspects of life are more likely to have a better social life.

Not Knowing When to Stop
stop annoying.
Though life is never a bed of roses, and there will always be things that will make us unhappy, will crying over spilled milk or complaining about how things are never in your favor do you any good? While there’s no harm in venting your feelings occasionally, constantly rambling about how unfair life has been to you, will do nothing but make you feel more dissatisfied. Your friends may initially come to your rescue and lend you an ear when you wallow in your sorrows, but there’s a limit to how much anyone can listen. There will come a time when they may run out of patience. When you often rant about your misery to get it off your chest, you are in the danger of being branded as the chronic complainer. Believe me, nobody wants to listen to constant whining and complaining.
Habitual Complaining
woman complaining
Complaining is often our reaction to things or situations that we are unhappy about. However, some people make it a habit of complaining about everything under the sun. The human mind is an expert when it comes to complicating things. If we want to complain, we can find umpteen things to complain about. We begin to sink in the sea of self-pity, and start blaming others for our situation.

Incessantly ranting about things that may or may not be under your control will just cause negative emotions to surface. There’s no denying the fact that physical health and emotional health cannot be separated. Dissatisfaction can cause us to lose our focus, which in turn can affect our productivity. The negativity then begins to manifest in different spheres of their life. Rather than focusing on ways to fix what’s bothering them, complainers are likely to spend time venting their frustration.

What Complaining Does to People Around You
camping couple
When complaining becomes a habit, you complain to anyone who comes around. Negativity that comes from complaining kills creativity and innovation. Habitual complainers are less likely to come up with new ideas, as they are busy finding faults and discourage others from trying new things as they feel that it wouldn’t work. When you spend time with people who constantly complain, you are likely to view things in a negative light. This will make things worse. This can affect the way you perceive your own situation, and even the people around you.

While people who are disgruntled and unhappy may join you when you play the victim, there would be others who would start avoiding you because of your negativity. At times, the other person may write you off as a perpetual complainer. Thus, complaining could affect your chance at forming a bond with others. Though venting out your feelings may momentarily improve your state of mind, it could sometimes have an adverse effect on the state of mind of the listener. In a recent study, neuroscientists measured brain activity of people listening to others who were complaining. This particular study stated that the exposure to negativity that arises due to listening to someone complain, can affect the brain’s capacity to solve problems. Though there isn’t conclusive evidence regarding the effect of complaining on one’s problem-solving skills, we do know that being negative does affect your emotional health.

There are those who see the glass half-empty, and others who view it as half-full. Some people seem to think that the grass is always greener on the other side, and that causes them to complain perpetually. While it’s alright to complain occasionally, constantly complaining is a very unhealthy habit that will certainly affect your physical and emotional health in an adverse manner. So, make the right choice by being positive.

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