Negativity Drains Your Mental Energy


Does your work suck, for a variety of reasons? Do you constantly feel the need to point out said reasons? And do you constantly feel exhausted?


Well, stop, because a study publish in the Journal of Applied Psychology has found that constant complaining and griping about work is mentally draining.


Researchers conducted two surveys of full-time employees at a firm, asking questions like how they responded to problems at work. These basically broke down into two major groups: people who offered solutions, and people who just pointed out the problems and left it at that. The participants also completed a short questionnaire designed to measure their mental energy at work. This went on once a week for four weeks.


Researchers found that people who were very critical about their jobs were more likely to report mental exhaustion than people who suggested solutions to problems—or, at last, made their complaints with a positive spin.

Researchers say that this is related to ego-depletion theory, which states that self-regulation is a finite resource. When you’ve used up your self-regulation for the day, it’s gone. According to the theory. Anyway, researchers suggest that people who are constantly looking for things to complain about or looking for problems are wearing out their mental energy in a similar fashion. Researchers write, “Such a constant state of vigilance is depleting.”

The Takeaway

We aren’t saying don’t point out problems; after all, someone needs to say when a conference call isn’t going anywhere. That said, it’s worthwhile to not go looking for problems, especially the superficial ones that make up so much of office culture. And finally, keep in mind that complaining so much that you’re exhausted is a symptom of burnout.



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