Being Around Chronic Complainers Is Harmful To Your Health – Here’s Why

We all complain about stuff once in a while. Some a little bit more than others. But a chronic complainer does it just about all the time.

Being Around Chronic Complainers Is Harmful To Your Health - Here’s Why

How many of you know or have known chronic complainers? Maybe a family member, a friend or acquaintance, or how about a co worker…

They apparently do not realize that to complain does no good whatsoever and will not change one’s position in life. Not at all. In fact, it will likely worsen one’s position in life!

What they don’t realize is that it’s up to the individual to take responsibility for one’s self and to make their own changes in life if that’s what they want to do. Others aren’t going to do it for them.


Not only is being a chronic complainer bad for the health and well being of the complainer, but it’s bad for YOUR health as a nearby bystander!

Being Around Chronic Complainers Is Harmful To Your Health - Here’s Why

The biggest impact complaining has on health comes from the level of stress it creates. This can cause high blood pressure and glucose spikes, which can lead to several serious health issues. As the experts found, chronic complainers are not trying to make the problem go away.

The more we complain and the more surrounded we are by those who complain on a chronic level the more unhappy we become. The harms of complaining could even be so severe that they would be comparable to those of secondhand smoke. If all we do is complain constantly or hear others doing the same, we’re going to be miserable and there is no denying that.

1. Sympathy turns to negativity

It turns out that our capacity for compassion, attempting to place ourselves in others’ shoes, also makes our emotions susceptible to experiencing the same anger, frustration, and dissatisfaction of the complainer. The more often you are around the individual complaining, the more neurons are being fired to associate with the emotions. Neurons that repeatedly fire in a pattern teach your brain to think in that manner.

2. Stress-induced health issues

Being around others with a cynical viewpoint on events, people, and life in general triggers stress in your brain and body. As your mind attempts to identify with the person complaining, you begin to feel the same emotions of anger, frustration, bitterness, and unhappiness. This interaction leads to stress that releases hormones to prepare you to act on the stress. The hormone released is cortisol.

Cortisol works in tandem with adrenaline as your hypothalamus responds to a perceived threat and tells your body to release the hormones. Adrenaline creates a rise in heart rate and blood pressure as your body prepares to “fight.” This increases blood flow to the muscles and brain to prepare you for action. Cortisol releases sugars to provide energy.

Over time, with a repeated pattern of this stress, you increase your chances of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

3. Shrinking your brain

In addition to the health problems created from stress, you are shrinking your brain when you expose it to repeated and constant levels of stress.

A study published in Stanford News Service demonstrated the effects of stress and stress hormones on wild baboons and rats. What they found was that chemicals called glucocorticoids release over time as a response to chronic stress, which caused the brain cells in rats to shrink.

Being Around Chronic Complainers Is Harmful To Your Health - Here’s Why

Later, another study was done after performing an MRI on participants. This x-ray allowed scientists to compare hippocampi of people who have had long term depression with others of the same age, sex, height, and education but without depression. It was discovered that the hippocampi were 15% smaller in those with depression.

Your hippocampus is attributed to aiding the brain in memory, learning, spatial navigation, and goal-related behavior, among other necessary abilities.


While those who complain all the time might not be able to see how negative they are. They rub off on us and no matter how much we try to help them or offer advice it’s never enough. The more we try the harder we fall into their ways ourselves.

While you might not have noticed just yet complainers on a serious level are able to drain us all drastically. They spread their negative messages to all they can and make us feel like we’re surrounded by something we cannot escape from.

Being Around Chronic Complainers Is Harmful To Your Health - Here’s Why

It is also important to understand that while a little complaining might be fine when it becomes constant rather than letting go of stress, it creates more. The more we allow ourselves to be surrounded by those who complain all the time the more stressed we will become overall. Their problems begin to weigh on us just as much as our own and in both scenarios, it can do serious damage to our mental state.

If you’re someone who feels like you’re complaining too much or like the people in your life are becoming too negative, take a much-needed step back and monitor your complaining shut it down before it comes out and cut ties with those who refuse to try and be more positive overall. You’ll be surprised how much more enriched you will begin to feel in a mere week or so.

Being Around Chronic Complainers Is Harmful To Your Health - Here’s Why

Perhaps it should also be noted that optimistic people overall have been noted to live longer than those who are pessimistic. This makes a lot of sense considering pessimistic people could be much more likely to be chronic complainers. Sure at the end of the day, we all have to try and promote the most appropriate mindsets for ourselves within our own means but these are things to think about.


If you happen to have friends or acquaintances who are complainers, it’s not that you should shut them out completely. However…

1. Don’t coddle them or play in to their drama or negative issues. They feed off that…

2. Realize that you will not be able to change or help them with their issues. Only they can do that.

3. Distance yourself from them in a polite sort of way.

4. Understand that you will be judged by others partially based on who you hang around with.

5. Know that the chronic complainer will negatively affect your own life.

Being Around Chronic Complainers Is Harmful To Your Health - Here’s Why

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