Go ahead and complain at work—it’s good for you *and* your productivity


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No one aims to to be the glass-half-empty girlespecially at work. But sometimes nothing feels more restorative and air-clearing than a much-needed venting sesh, right? And, all that complaining might even give your productivity a boost, new (and totally satisfying) research finds.

In a study published in the journal Organization Studies, researcher Vanessa Pouthier, PhD, analyzed a team of health professionals at a large hospital in the Midwest—which included everyone from physicians and nurses to pharmacists and bereavement counselors—for longer than a year. Dr. Pouthier ultimately found that “griping” at work isn’t a pesky, morale-depleting habit; there’s actually a lot of good that comes from it in terms of both your mental health and being your best self in your boss-babe endeavors.

“These griping rituals helped doctors and nurses realize they were feeling the same way about situations, and they weren’t that different. By engaging in those little rituals in their care planning meetings, they processed some of that negative energy and left feeling more energized,” Dr. Pouthier says in a press release.

“These griping rituals helped doctors and nurses realize they were feeling the same way about situations, and they weren’t that different. By engaging in those little rituals in their care planning meetings, they processed some of that negative energy and left feeling more energized.” —lead study author Vanessa Pouthier, PhD

Not only did complaining help the employees rid themselves of pent-up stress and frustration, but the practice also allowed the team members to work through issues that were holding them back, helping them move forward and work more efficiently. But beware: This study doesn’t mean you can complain 24/7—there is an important rule to take note of.

“You can only gripe about people that are not in the room, and you need to externalize the gripe,” Dr. Pouthier says. “The gripe’s target needs to be something everyone can agree on, like the structure in which the team is working, or difficult practitioners working in other services. Never individuals in the team.”

So the next time you feel like complaining, don’t hold back: When done strategically, it’s good for your mind and your workday grind. Plus, who knows? One of your co-workers might just become a new BFF because of it.

Here’s how your friendships can help you conquer stress. Or, find out how to create a stress-free, work-from-home space.

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