Is complaining bad for you? That's our common wisdom.
Some people say "yes", and add that we should replace complaints with gratitude. Be positive, and you and your body will both benefit.
I've been keeping track of some of my complaining recently. For example, my spouse did me a big favor by taking me to work the other day. It was wicked cold (as we say, here in the Southern Tier of New York State) and the sidewalks were a bit icy from a thaw the day before.
So, I try to open the car door, and it is blocked by the tall snowpile next to the path leading from our house to the street. So the first thing my spouse heard, instead of "thank you", was somewhere along the line of "*&#@ snowpile!". It also could have been "*($@ salt!" when I got road salt dust (it is on everything, including cars, trees near highways) on my coat.
When I got to work, everyone was complaining about the temperature, when people weren't trying to one-up each other about just HOW COLD it was at their house.
So yes, I complain. And so does everyone I know.
Because I majored in cultural anthropology, I wondered if complaining, in certain circumstance, can be a form of bonding. (Gossip also is a form of bonding, but we all know how damaging gossip can be, too)
In the midst of my complaining, I found a recent article in The Atlantic of interest.
It turns out that sometimes, complaining may be beneficial. That is not to say we shouldn't practice gratitude. But, if complaining is done right (knowing when to complain, knowing who to complain to, and complaining for a purpose - to accomplish a purpose), complaining can be good, even providing us with positive health benefits. And, some types of complaining can actually improve the light in which others see you. That one really surprised me.
I can see myself, in a fancy restaurant, complaining about the wine, and people around me being impressed. (Or not, because I don't go to fancy restaurants. Or, drink wine in any restaurant.)
Complaining, in some circumstances, can provide sympathy (if it is not overdone), and human connection. The trick is, knowing when to stop, before it turns into whining.
Complaining can help you focus and organize negative feelings.
So complaining, it turns out, can be negative (and often is) but can also be a positive thing, if done right.
Now, about those snow piles...