I can’t count how many times I’ve called my mom with a laundry list of things that were stressing me out. She used to just say, “Okay, but what do you want me to do about it?” Of course I didn’t expect mommy to come do my grocery shopping or find a new apartment for me – I just felt better after venting. She was, unfortunately for her still is, my sounding board.
It’s not your imagination – complaining does make you feel better. In fact, there are actual health benefits to letting it all out. Read on to find out the positive effects of venting.
1. Complaining Helps Lower Stress Levels
As long as you’re not annoyed by everything life throws at you, talking about the sucky things occasionally can actually help alleviate stress. Think about it – everyone needs to blow off some stream once in a while. Instead of keeping everything that’s scary or frustrating inside, it does your mind some good to get it off your chest.
2. Venting Can Give Us Validation
How good does it feel when someone goes, “Ugh, that’s awful! I’d be pissed too,” after a vent sesh? Even if they don’t completely understand or relate to your experience, it makes us feel like it’s okay to feel the way we do…and to let it go.
3. Blowing Off Steam Brings People Together
Believe it or not, complaining can be a bonding experience. You’ve probably done it without even noticing – like when your teacher assigns another paper despite having an exam to study for and your classmates suddenly have a ton in common. Suddenly your study group turns into a therapy session. Misery does love company…
4. Whining Could Actually Help Us Make Good Decisions
Telling everyone you know about your horrible boss may get people annoyed at you, or it could give you new perspectives on the situation. Maybe others can tell you what they did when they had an awful boss or make you see things from a different way. Even if you have a problem you’d rather solve on your own, write down possible solutions. Just getting your thoughts down on paper will help you see the situation more objectively.
5. People Who Complain Have Better Self-Esteem
Believe it or not, a 1996 study found that people who complain tend to have higher levels of self-esteem than those who don’t. Surprised? Me too. But it actually makes sense – people who let their feelings known often actually believe that their voice matters and by complaining they can change situations in their best interest.
6. Lamenting Can Change Things You Don’t Like
Instead of complaining to everyone who can’t change your dissatisfactions, maybe share your problems with someone who can change it. In a diplomatic way, tell your boss that you’re not happy doing another person’s job for them or let your friends know that you felt left out when they went out and didn’t invite you. It’s not exactly venting, but bringing up issues can get things done.
Remember, no one likes a chronic complainer. Try to keep a positive outlook on life, but if something’s getting to you, talk to someone you know will listen and instantly feel better. Just know that you may get a call from them in the near future where you’re on the listening side.