Whether you have a student debt load that's higher than your salary, a roommate who never does the dishes, a smartphone that’s two generations old, or all of the above, you probably have endless things to complain about. Hey, no one said adulthood was dreamy. But rather than giving you catharsis, regularly airing your grievances might negatively impact your health.
Mental health expert Dr. Gail Saltz, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell School of Medicine, acknowledges that while complaining is a part of everyone's life, you should take a hard look at the degree to which you grumble. "It's often OK to complain," she says. "It’s really about the volume, tenacity, and how much expectation that someone else can fix [the problem you’re complaining about]."
As if there weren’t enough to gripe about already, here are some serious health problems constant complainers can add to their lists of woes.
It makes you anxious
Constant griping about everything from financial and work woes to delayed commutes and a tiny apartment feeds anxiety. "Someone who is obsessive or anxious about their thoughts may have the same toll of anxiety on their body or mind," says Dr. Saltz. She adds that "anxiety causes bursts of norepinephrine" -- a stress hormone partly responsible for that horrible, panicky fight-or-flight feeling -- which raises blood pressure and blood glucose levels. This, in turn, releases cortisol, and too much of that causes problems like weight gain, immune system suppression, and cardiovascular disease. "Stress is the common denominator. Stress causes aches, pains, and gastrointestinal problems," says Dr. Saltz.