Why Complaining Could Actually Be Good For Your Brain Health
Annoying co-workers? A bad Tinder date? Roommates not pulling their weight? These are all reasons you may find yourself complaining to your best friend or a trusted confidante. Of course, you don’t complain just to complain. A lot of the time when you need to get something off your chest, it’s because you’re tired of it weighing you down. As negative as the idea of complaining is, it can actually be pretty beneficial as well.
According to Psychology Today, there are different ways people complain. There are the “chronic complainers” who seem to only see the negative things, and tend to “focus on setbacks over progress.” Then, there are people who like to vent. Venting is different, because it has an objective. NBC News reports that venting is meant to get your frustration out. However, New York City psychologist, Dr. Guy Winch, says that “there’s a price you pay” for constant complaining. For instance, Entrepreneur states that if you do it too often, your brain may adjust so it becomes easier and easier to do. If you’re complaining all the time, you may veer towards always negatively thinking, which will increase the stress hormone (cortisol) in your body (via WKBW-TV ABC). It also has the potential to shrink your hippocampus in your brain, which can affect your “cognitive function.”
But did you know that there are healthy ways to complain that reduce stress?
This may make you think twice about complaining — you just have to do it right
Despite the ways that complaining can negatively impact your brain, there is actually one type of complaining that will actually boost your brain health — and it involves venting. According to Thought Hub, venting can actually reduce your stress levels, but it must be positive venting.
A lot of what differentiates between positive venting and negative venting is the person you’re talking to. If you have a good, active listener who will put you at ease, you’ll be able to work through your problems rather than build them up. Psychology Today even has five ways to improve your venting in a healthy way: For instance, you can wait before reacting, ask yourself why you feel the way you do, and even write down your feelings before saying anything. In fact, a thought journal can not only help with mental health, but physical health as well (via NBC News). Plus, it’s a great excuse to buy some new gel pens.
Now, positively vent away!
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