Ted and Nate were long-time friends and roommates since college. Ted worked at a job he didn’t really like, and one day Nate finally said to him, “You know, Ted, I’m going to stop asking how your day was because you give me a negative answer every single time. Isn’t there anything good about that job?” Surprised, Ted thought about it and realized he spent most of his time complaining about his job and never chose to see any of the positives. As a result, he tried to find something good about his job every day and began to look forward to going to work.
- Complaining is a vicious cycle. We all know at least one person who could look at a gorgeous sunset and point out that the colors probably are due to pollution in the air. They can’t seem to find the positive in anything. And if we do it enough, we can rewire our brains to make the negative our default setting. The brain prefers efficiency, and constant complaints cause pathways to grow that turn it into a repeated behavior. So, you eventually find it easier to react negatively than positively. You essentially train yourself to do it, causing it to happen more frequently.
- Frequent complaining causes stress. Sure, in the moment it may feel good to vent–no reason to keep all our emotions inside, right? But complaining is more than just an occasional blowing-off of steam. Complaining causes our brains to release cortisol, a stress hormone that puts us into the fight-or-flight mode. Thus, our systems shift into survival mode as well, raising blood pressure and blood sugar and hurting our immune system over time. Complainers have a higher chance of getting high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. That seems ironic because it gives them more to complain about.
- How can you stop the negativity? It will take some effort, but the results will make you far happier in the long run. First, when you feel like pointing out something to complain about, shift your thinking to something you’re grateful for instead. You’ll find your mood and overall energy level improve over time, and you’ll shift your default mode to one more like Pollyanna than Ebenezer Scrooge. And if you really do have something legitimate to gripe about, embrace that reason…be specific about what’s bothering you…and try to find a solution to it. This turns it into a positive, or at least something you can work on alleviating as a complaint.
For your overall health, do what you can to make your overall outlook more positive. You won’t regret the effort. For more help with health matters, reach out to the experts at Medical Professionals.