Stop the Gossip for Better Mental Health
Not many people are aware that gossip can be a cause of mental health depreciation. Some think that gossiping is one way of relieving stress that could lead to a better mental state. Others believe that through gossip, they form new friendships or a special bond with the people in the neighborhood or workplace. In short, gossip is harmless and can be fun.
No one would suspect that gossip can affect your mental health. For many, they gossip to pass time and not to show disrespect or taint one’s name and character.
Is gossip bad?
Inherently, we believe that gossip is bad. Whoever indulges in gossip can be considered bad people. It is always wrong to spread rumors or personal information about other people without their consent or knowledge. Psychologist Sarah Wert, PhD investigated that participating in gossip is a moral decision that people have to make many times every day. People need to decide by themselves whether they need to listen to gossip or say something juicy even if they know the moral implications.
According to Wert, gossip is not always bad. Though it can hurt other people, it is considered as “glue that binds social groups together and a valuable tool that helps people learn the rules of their social worlds”.
One study published in 2019 presented recorded verbal conversations among 467 adults for two to five days. The data showed that only 34% of the participants did not gossip. 75% of the gossip is labeled as neutral. It is neither damaging nor harmless. Most gossip is about social information and learning about the social world. Frank T. McAndrew, Ph.D., the Cornelia H. Dudley Professor of Psychology at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois said that “what makes gossip good, bad or neutral is how we use the information, not the content of the news itself”.
Some think that there is a thin line between good gossip and bad one. On the contrary, both have a huge gap in terms of definition and intention. Good gossip is sharing with a person whom you trust and using this information in a responsible way. One example is telling your friend not to be in a relationship with her crush because he is a cheater. Your intention is not to hurt your friend but you are emphasizing some red flags. You share information in an appropriate way to help your friend.
Bad gossip is when you take advantage of other people’s misfortune or use that gossip as a stepping stone to get ahead. Telling your boss that your co-worker has a bad reputation for cheating on exams in college to snatch from her the promotion is an example of bad gossip.
Despite the constant debate about whether gossip is bad or not, psychologists agree that the need to chat or to gossip “may be the evolutionary spur that pushed humanity to develop language”. Psychologist Robin Dunbar, PhD, a University of Liverpool psychology professor, said that “language evolved for social purposes”. It is merely about talking about someone’s misconduct in the workplace but knowing how that incident relates and affects you and other people.
What are the harmful effects of gossip?
People who are subject to gossip will always believe that gossip is wrong and bad. It does not matter if the information is true or not but the fact that people are meddling in their lives is tasteless and disrespectful. On top of that, sharing this personal information with others is beyond aggravating and depressing. Gossips weaken your mental health.
Gossip leads to mistrust.
If you are the type of person who loves to gossip, there is a high chance that you will eventually lose your friend’s trust.. If you have been talking about other people to your friends frequently, they will start to think that you will also gossip about them to your other friends. They will be more careful in sharing personal details whenever you are around. They become nervous and uncomfortable when you are there because they know that you cannot keep a secret.
It taints one’s reputation.
Most of the time, gossip can be fun. You do not think about it as harming other people but you just like talking about other people’s business without thinking of the consequences. But the moment you spread this information, especially if it is a bad one, you are tarnishing their names and reputations. This is something that you can never take back easily once a person’s name or character has been tainted. Some people have to see a therapist near me to help them deal with shame
Gossip builds-up lies.
Gossip and rumor are two different things. Rumors lack truth and are merely speculations. Gossips are scandalous or hurtful truths about a person. Gossips may be true but once passed on to different people, lies may be added to make them more dramatic and juicier. Instead of helping a grieving friend as she lost her baby, people are starting to say that she is getting crazy.
It breaks relationships.
Some psychologists think that gossip improves social connections. But to those who have been victims of notorious gossip, sharing hurtful and defamatory information about them is the end of a relationship. They will never trust someone who spreads this gossip. For them, it is always better to be surrounded by few, real friends than being with so many but unreliable individuals. If you are dealing with a painful breakup, see a therapist near me to help you understand and accept the situation.
Gossip causes mental breakdown.
Sad to say not all can manage gossip well. Many people indeed choose to ignore other people’s opinions about them. But some people cannot face and handle the gossip especially if they are all scandalous and humiliating. This causes them to struggle with anxiety and depression. It is better if you seek help from a therapist near me.
Mindshift Psychological Services offers therapy and counseling sessions to those whose mental health is affected by gossip. Whether this gossip costs you your relationships or defames your name in the community, you know that you are not yet ready to face your families and friends unless you learn how to manage them with your head held high. Our therapy and counseling sessions can help you address your worries about gossip and mental health.
Visit our website to learn more about us. You may also contact us at (714)584-9700 to schedule an appointment.