From job woes and relationship troubles to health problems and financial concerns (not to mention long lines, lukewarm coffee, and other daily annoyances), everyone’s got something to complain about.
In some ways, this is a healthy and normal part of life. Voicing concerns, identifying pervasive stressors, and figuring out how to surmount the many minor frustrations our days bring us are all part of being a healthy, functioning human.
And if you’ve ever bonded with someone over a shared dislike (like the latest movie everyone’s raving about that you hated), you know firsthand that group-level griping can be a quick route to feeling closer with others.
The problem: Too much time spent focusing on the negative—and drawing everyone’s awareness to what’s wrong in your life—can lead to some seriously un-fun consequences. From pushing away friends (or making them equally miserable) to wrecking our own health or quality of life, complaining can go wrong in so many ways.
There is no scientific evidence that venting helps us calm down.
If you think blowing off steam helps you feel better, think again. “There is no scientific evidence that venting helps us calm down,” says Brad Bushman, Ph.D., professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University. In fact, his research shows that ruminating over remarks that angered you (or in his particular study, working out aggression by walloping a punching bag) only mak…