Complaining Is Bad For Your Brain ~ 5 Tips To Overcome

Did you know that complaining actually impairs your brain? Even listening to extended complaining can cause the problem solving part of your brain to shut down.

You may have had this experience as I have. You’re enjoying your work or life and having a good day. Then you talk to someone and all they can do is complain about someone or something and suddenly you can’t think straight anymore. Your mood sinks and your energy is gone.

Minda Zetlin in a blog post at Inc.com, “Listening to Complainers is Bad for Your Brain,” interviewed Trevor Blake, author of “Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life.”  In the book, Blake shared research done by neuroscientists stating that being exposed to too much complaining can actually make you dumb.

Research shows that exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity–including viewing such material on TV–actually peels away neurons in the brain’s hippocampus. That’s the part of your brain you need for problem solving.” Blake says. “Basically, it turns your brain to mush.” After you finish this post, you can read his advice about how to handle complainers.

We all have issues with complaining from time to time. Perhaps you have a relationship problem at work or at home and it’s an ongoing frustration to you. You find yourself complaining a lot about that relationship.

However, when you stay focused on complaining, you actually empower the negative rather than the positive. Whatever you focus on expands and dominates. Continuing to complain about a situation or person actually robs you of a solution and keeps you locked in a negative place.

So what is the healthy way to deal with the things which frustrate you? How do you avoid staying stuck in complaining which shuts off the problem solving part of your brain? How do you avoid focusing on complaining?

5 Tips To Overcome Complaining

1. Let yourself have your feelings.  There is nothing wrong with acknowledging the negative things which happen to you and how they affect you. Acknowledge your frustration or anger about the situation or person or whatever triggered your complaint.

2. Determine to look for solutions. If you stay focused on what is wrong, you will hinder your growth and keep the solutions from coming to you. Seek relationship advice and ask for relationship help. Ask God for wisdom. James tells us that God gives wisdom to anyone who asks.

3. Change your view of problem. Problem situations and people give you an opportunity to grow. After you finish reading this blog post, read, “Does the person who irritates you have a purpose?”  to gain perspective on how you can grow from something which irritates you.

4. Give yourself some space. Walk away. Go and do something else more positive that will help get your brain back into the creative problem solving mode.

5. Keep a gratitude journal. You can list or write about the things you are thankful for each day. Focusing on what you’re grateful for can help get your mind off your complaining. Gratitude can also re-energize your brain by reversing the negativity of complaining.

Sometimes when you grow in understanding of yourself and the other person, the relationship problem clears up and you find positive ways to handle it.

When you choose these positive responses to the negativity in the world, you’ll feel better and grow in maturity and strength.  Not only will you come up with solutions for yourself but you will be able to help others as well. The people in your life will take note and give you favor at work and at home.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 (NIV)

What do you think about this post? Do these tips help you? Do you have any other ideas? Share with us in the comments below.

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