What Is Complaining Really Doing To Your Brain?

When we suffer a breakup or a problem with our kids or partner, we want to vent, right? Wrong! Venting and complaining might initially make you feel better, but it infects those we vent to and increases negativity in the brain.

WOA! You mean, if I complain, it hurts my brain? Yes, yes it does. Complaining creates a neural pathway that creates more negativity which burdens our immune system, creates a negative or acid environment where disease flourishes. You can watch the video below on the subject maybe you’ve complained so much you no longer want to read…..


The Science Behind Complaining

A study conducted by Stanford University found that complaining shrinks the hippocampus. What do we need the hippocampus for? The hippocampus is used for problem-solving and intelligent thought. This means those who complain constantly are reducing their ability for conductive reasoning and being able to solve life’s problems. The scarier issue is that the hippocampus is the area of the brain destroyed by Alzheimer’s.

Complaining Becomes Your Default Mechanism

When we complain constantly, it changes the way people perceive us. Have you ever noticed how when some people approach you, your guard comes up and you don’t want to ask, “How are you?” You already know what their answer will be.

Complaining Is Bad For Your Health

The act of complaining causes an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. When cortisol rises we go into fight or flight mode (sympathetic nervous system) which redirects blood flow and oxygen away from the organs that need it. Our organs are essential to survival. We are compromising our health by complaining, plain and simple.

Blood pressure rises as does your blood sugar so that you are prepared to escape from whatever the perceived danger is. You have heard that we are our worst enemy, this is certainly the truth if we are perpetual complainers.

When our cortisol increases by frequent complaining our immune system is compromised which makes us more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Our brain even becomes more vulnerable to strokes.

We Affect Others With Our Complaining

Humans are social creatures. We like to be around others. Socializing with people who perpetually complain becomes a habit for us too. We mirror those around us. It is called neural mirroring. It is the basis for the way we feel empathy. Being around others who complain is like associating with smokers, you don’t have to smoke to get lung cancer. Spending time with complainers is bad for your health!

How To Overcome The Complaining Habit

Most importantly we must not get down on ourselves. You have a bad habit? Join the club. Most people have habits they need to overcome. Congratulations for recognizing you have a commitment to being version 2.0 of yourself. Maybe you are on version 3.0 or newer, so much the better! Here are some positive ways to change a habit.

  1. Notice. Catch yourself in the middle of complaining.
  2. Awareness is the first step and is powerful.
  3. Mid-sentence of your current complaint (bitch-fest) stop!
  4. State out loud: “That’s not part of my reality!”
  5. Say “thank you for sharing!” Acknowledging the comment rather than feeling guilt or shame.
  6. Find a way to re-state your complaint in a positive way i.e. (“I will attract better circumstances from here on.”)
  7. Write down your complaint and burn the piece of paper. Lighting a match and burning our complaints is a powerful way to release them.
  8. Recognize the more you recognize your habit, re-state and shift in the moment the easier it will become.
  9. Remember habits take between 30 and 40 days to become your new positive habit.
  10. Dont give up! Stay committed.
  11. Remember you will feel a whole lot better when the amount of negativity you dwell on is reduced to smaller and smaller bits of information. Catch yourself mid-sentence and correct yourself. Snapping your fingers or clapping can shift the energy quickly.

Do you complain and wonder why you aren’t happy?

How Your Thoughts Create Disease

Is Your Negativity Killing You?

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