It's sometimes very necessary to let out our frustrations about the things that bother us, but no one likes to be around someone who is always griping about every little issue. If you fear you might be the "Negative Nancy" of your friends, you'll want to consider some ways to tell if you complain too much. Expressing yourself is important, but constant criticism is not good for your mental or physical health — or for the wellbeing of others around you.
"When we talk about what is bothering us, this can be healthy, as we allow others to connect with us and this helps us know we are not alone in our struggles," says psychologist and happiness expert Dr. Lamees Khorshid over email. "On the other hand, if we instead complain about things that are outside of our control, and continue to talk about them, this can harm our immune system. When we recycle negative thoughts, and complain, this harms our health."
Research from Stanford University found that even just a half hour of complaining every day can physically damage your brain. If you've been feeling moody or sick all the time — or maybe you're noticing you're having some relationship issues with others — consider these seven ways to tell if you're complaining too much.
1You Never Try To Problem Solve
"When a particular problem is assigned to you, instead of figuring out ways to solve it, you will start talking about problem itself and keep ranting on how bad is the problem and enter into meaningless conversation," says health and happiness coach Roopak Desai over email. Pointing out a potential issue and having a discussion about it is one thing, but when faced with conflict and all you do is whine, it's not going to have a positive effect.
2You Feel Powerless
"You find yourself feeling powerless, in talking about things you can't control," says Khorsid. "A feeling of helplessness results from thinking and speaking about uncontrollable events, and you will find yourself feeling futile over situations, since you are focused on the bad instead of focusing on hope."
3You Feel Exhausted At The End Of Each Day
Complaining too much can leave you feeling both physically and mentally exhausted at the end of the day. "When you complain and think or speak of worries, you feel exhausted because this activates the body's stress response," says Khorsid. "This chronic activation leads to low energy."
4You Dwell On The Past
If you tend to talk about past problems that no longer exist, you're likely taking complaining to the next level. "Recycling old worries does nothing to help you or your situation," says Khorsid. "It just reminds you of negative events that have expired and no longer serve a purpose in your life."
5You Feel Anxious
"Complaining can elevate your levels of anxiety and stress, as negative event recall activates worry and stress that are experienced even on cellular levels," says Khorsid. Constant complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely, thus shifting your mindset to always be more negative, according to Entrepreneur.
6Your Mood Is Generally Low
"It's hard to experience joy in life when we are focusing on what is not working," says Khorsid. "Instead, your thoughts should be in hope and gratitude, as this elevates your mood and happiness levels instead."
7You Are Irritable
Your frequent annoyance at others could be stemming from how often you complain. "When we constantly talk about problems, the mind and body experience these recollections as though they are actually occurring," says Khorsid. "Complaining increases frustration and takes us away from goal setting. It's hard to be optimistic or goal drive if you are constantly speaking of what is not going right in your life."