How many times have you heard (or said) something like: "It felt good to get that off my chest"?

Well, there's no question that venting help you feel better... at first. However, according to a recent study cited in ScienceIsUs.com, in the medium and long term, complainers are just making themselves even more miserable. And damaging their careers, too.

The study, published in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, focused on what the authors called "sportsmanship" - essentially the ability to keep your complaints and criticism to yourself, even when complaining and criticism might make you feel better. Here are the key results:

"As expected, we found that daily negative events lowered daily engagement and momentary positive affect for two consecutive days. However, this effect only held on days that people exhibited low sportsmanship. For days that people exhibited high sportsmanship, there were no significant effects."

In other words, when sh*t happens at work, you'll feel better in the long run if you suck it up rather than let it fly. Here's why.

Focusing on whatever is making you upset increases its importance in your mind, thereby causing you to notice it more frequently and even find it in places where it may not exist.

Complaining is like an addiction. You complain to feel better in the moment, which makes you more miserable, which gives you yet more to complain about. And down the drain you go!

And that's only how complaining affects you personally.

When you complain to coworkers, you focus their attention on what's bothering you, thereby making it likely that they'll feel bad about it, too. And feel the need to vent.

Indeed, you often see this dynamic when a group of coworkers get into a "grouse session." While the complaining allows everyone to bond (and feel closer and therefore better), over time the negativity kills morale.

Put another way, complaining is like poison ivy. The more you scratch the itch, the more it spreads.

This is not to say that you shouldn't address problems at work. Far from it. Complaining and problem solving are not the same thing; in fact, they're opposites!

When you complain about a problem, you're wasting energy that would be more wisely spent on a solution.

Rule of thumb: before bringing up a problem to a colleague or coworker ask yourself: Am I honestly looking for advice or just dumping to make myself feel better?

If it's the latter, suck it up and move on... for the good of the team and, ultimately, for your own good, too.