Personally, I know I have a tendency to complain. I'm not always the one to start it, but I'm definitely the first to hop on the band wagon. It's like a have a sixth sense for it — I can smell someone complaining for miles away. My feet drag me to it. Before I know it, I'm the center of it, throwing gasoline on the fire.
Sometimes it's out of habit — complaining can be a pretty easy icebreaker to revert to — but sometimes it's just to find a release. But what I've realized is, I never really feel relieved after I've complained. I feel exasperated, yes, but I don't feel closer to a solution. Not to mention, whenever I join a complaining circle, I feel a pang of guilt. It's like my body knows it's not good for me, like eating junk food or reading gossip magazines. I know it's not accomplishing anything, but it can be so alluring, and sometimes I can't help myself.
As it turns out, however, complaining is actually legitimately bad for you. The seemingly casual habit takes a toll on your body. Here are six things you probably didn't know your complaining was doing to your body:
You Stress Yourself Out Even More
When you have negative thoughts and gather the energy to complain about them, you get your adrenaline going, which can release stress hormones. Though it might feel good to complain while you're doing it, you're just flying high on hormones that can have all sorts of negative effects on your body like high blood pressure, headaches, indigestion, anxiety, and sleeplessness. You might feel better after a long rant, but your body would be better off if you skipped the rant and just focused on the good stuff.
It Attracts Negativity
When you let the people around you know that you're unhappy, it lassos in the attention of other people who are feeling the same way. Once you become the person in the office who is complaining, you'll become the ringleader of negativity, bringing a dark cloud over the whole place. When you're surrounded by it, it can be very damaging to your psyche, your mood and your work.
It Establishes Bad Habits
The more comfortable you get with complaining, the more you lose sight of its negative effects. When you complain, you take energy away from your productivity and put it towards destructive thoughts and behaviors. If you stop complaining and try to focus on the positive, you open up your field of view and can have a healthier perspective.
It Lowers Creative Function
When you're complaining, you're basically isolating yourself from your own capabilities. You lose access to the creative side of your brain and limit your creativity. The more energy you spend complaining, the harder it will be for you to access that other side of your brain.
You Get Better At Negative Thinking
Your brain is actually a really well-trained dog. If you teach it to recognize certain triggers and complain-worthy events, it will listen. Next time you see one of those triggers, it will switch your gears for you so that you can access complain-mode faster than before. Don't allow your brain to create negative tendencies for you. Change your reactions to triggers — try to open your mind, take a deep breath, and look at the positive.
Your Immune System Is Lowered
When you're getting yourself worked-up to complain about something, your body is getting fired up to fight something. Just like with stress, your body is being flooded with cortisol which can lower your body's ability to protect itself from sickness. Instead of coming home after a long and frustrating day at work only to yell about it to your partner, take out the yoga mat and do some stretching and meditation. It's much better for your mind and your body.