Can you get through a whole day without complaining? I don’t mean the justifiable protest at getting shoddy service or goods. Instead, I mean the more day-to-day moaning and whinging about other people or the world in general.
In fact, we all regularly complain about modern life, our boss, the government, the youth of today, and so on. In fact, the list is endless. Sometimes, complaining acts as a kind of social glue – it gives us a common purpose and sometimes identifies a common enemy.
But, the downside is that chronic complaining doesn’t do us any favours. Research tells us that our brain is biased towards the negative. However, chronic complaining focuses our attention on this negativity and, like a rolling snowball, the problem grows bigger and bigger. Neuroscientists have a phrase, ‘neurons that fire together wire together’. It refers to the fact that repetition of brain messages (or thoughts) create neural connections. With more repetition, these connections get stronger, and the space between different nerve cells get smaller. In effect, the brain is constantly re-wiring itself. And continuing to focus on negative stories loads the brain circuitry towards greater pessimism. Furthermore, when you complain, your body responds by producing more of the stress hormone, cortisol. Overloading with cortisol is harmful to your heart, blood pressure, weight and other body functions.
Mixing with fellow complainers can also reinforce this pessimistic outlook. In brief, if you want to wire your brain towards a more positive outlook then surround yourself with positive people. Mix with radiators and not drains.
Basically, there are a lot of dark clouds out there, but you need to be better at searching for the silver lining. As well as really appreciating the blue skies. It really will be better for your health.
For NHS funded therapy for stress, anxiety or depression, phone (01208) 871905 or register online [HERE].