Does Complaining About Work Help Or Harm Your Mental Health? (What To Do Instead)

Last Update on July 19, 2022 : Published on July 19, 2022

You are not the only one frustrated because of that one coworker who won’t just go away and let you be. I can guarantee you that every workplace has that one person who will make it harder for you to focus and finish work on time.

However, that’s not all. In reality, it’s not only one coworker or your supervisor who frustrates you. With every job comes the burden of stress. And it’s normal even if you’re working your dream job, stress is a part of it.

So who says it’s wrong to take your frustrations out or vent out to your loved ones after the workday is over? Most of the time, complaining about work can help you release frustration and stress. It can make you feel good. But this raises a question,

“Is complaining about work healthy or harmful?” “Does complaining about work increase your stress or help you release it?”

There are many theories on this. Many people believe that keeping in or bottling up their frustrations about work, coworkers, or bosses may put them at risk of exploding at the wrong place at the wrong time. Others believe that venting to someone willing to listen (and support) in the privacy of their home can be a good alternative to release pent-up emotions.

Many believe that complaining does nothing but spread negativity and takes away the focus from the positive aspects of work. In this blog, we’ll be exploring the pros and cons of complaining about your work and the effects complaining about work can have on your mental health.

P.S. Keep reading to learn what you can do instead to release stress productively.

The Effects Of Complaining About Work

The Positive Aspects

1.Makes You Release Stress In The Moment

Okay so maybe a little complaining about your manager can be cathartic and can make you feel good but in the moment. When you complain about your workplace or your coworkers, it means you’re letting out your frustrations. When you release those emotions and feelings, it can make your heart feel lighter and while in the long term, it’s not the right step, it can still make you feel satisfied.

2.Makes You Feel Heard

When you have someone you can let out your frustrations to, it can make you feel heard and less stressed. When you know that there are people in your life who will listen to you and understand your frustrations, it can make your concerns feel valid. And when you complain about work to a group, it can help increase the connection (especially when the topic of discussion is job stress).

3.Helps You Find Solutions

When you complain about work to a loved one, you not only vent out your frustrations but may also help you find solutions. Normally, when you’re stressed an immediate solution, that’s in front of you, can be invisible, however, talking or discussing your problems with a coworker or a loved one can help you see the solution. Here, an outsider’s perspective comes in handy.

4.Avoids Outbursts Later

It’s a known fact that the more you bottle up your feelings, the more you’re at risk of experiencing an emotional outburst. And who’s to say that these emotional outbursts might not occur in front of your manager or superiors? You can’t stay frustrated forever and risk yourself exploding at the wrong moment. Complaining about work can help you avoid later outbursts.

The Negative Aspects

1.Can Spread Negativity

Negativity can be contagious but so can positivity. When you complain about work, you are prone to spreading your bad mood and negativity to the person you’re venting to. So, not only by complaining, you ruin your mood but also the mood of your loved one.

2.Can Become A Habit

Yes, excessive complaining can become habitual. The more you complain, the more automatic the process becomes. What’s more is that once you complain excessively, you’ll begin to see more negative sides of your workplace and coworkers, more than the positive sides. So if you’re someone who complains regularly about their work, you need to reel in your attitude before it becomes a habit.

3.Can Affect Your Image

Sure, complaining about your work with your coworkers can feel like a bonding session but it can also affect your image or reputation. It can make you look like a negative or a toxic person in the eyes of others who believe that you always complain. Don’t let your frustrations overrule your image at your workplace or home with excessive complaining.

4.Can Leave Adverse Effects On Health

When you complain about work or your managers, you put your mind in a perpetual state of stress. This is one of the factors that can contribute to chronic stress. When your mind sees something as a threat, your stress response is activated, and this stress response can cause us to experience a host of negative effects on our emotional, mental, and physical health.

Yes, complaining about work can be a cathartic experience but it can also make you feel terrible in the long run. Venting your frustrations might sound like a good idea but in reality, it does nothing. What you need to do is let yourself cool off, redirect your attention, and express your negative emotions less destructively and more constructively.

What Can You Do?

1.Use Journal To Record Feelings

While talking to a friend or a loved one can help, journaling about your emotions and feelings can be a better way. Writing down your feelings in a journal can help you process your emotions far better than venting to a loved one can. You can start a gratitude journal to remind yourself of the good things that happened in the day rather than the bad ones. This can also help rewire your brain into thinking more positive than negative.

2.Redirect Your Thoughts

If complaining about work has become a habit, you can learn to redirect your thoughts by catching yourself when you’re complaining. Whenever you find yourself complaining about work, redirect your thoughts and focus on what’s making you feel good. You can also purposefully vent out and then redirect your thoughts immediately. Don’t let yourself dwell on the negatives for more than a few minutes.

3.Find The Right Listener

What’s the point in complaining when there’s no solution to be found? When you complain to the right person it can help you improve your thinking. If there’s a stressful situation at work, then complaining to the right person can help you fix the problem before it escalates.

4.Practice Mindfulness

When you’re present in the moment, it gives you less time to stress about the future or dwell on the past. Practicing mindfulness or the habit of being present in the moment can also help you complain less. Mindfulness techniques are many but you can start simply by focusing on your breathing and the sensations it brings.

5.Practice Stress Management

Along with mindfulness and journaling, you can also learn other effective stress management exercises to help you build resilience against stress and feel less controlled by your troubling emotions.

The best way to avoid job stress is to make sure that you don’t bring your work at home or overwork. If you work from home, then the best way to avoid feeling frustrated with work is to take short breaks and at the end of the day, turn off your work notifications. Also, you can make sure your workspace is separate from your living space.

Taking small steps to manage stress and control your emotions can help you minimize complaining about work. I hope you employ the above-mentioned tips and avoid complaining about work and your coworkers more than necessary.

If you found this blog helpful, you can share your thoughts with us at or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Take care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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