What happens to your brain from constantly complaining

How does your mind react to constant, every day complaining?

Can negative thoughts affect your brain activity?

Can we change the way our brains work? According to the rapid development of neuroscience, we can. In fact, we can re-engineer our minds for the positive.

Similar to improving our intelligence by learning new things that expand our knowledge, we can learn new life skills that help us entirely change our perspective. Besides, we can determine which habits we need to let go of to have a significantly better life.

Unfortunately, we are also capable of doing exactly the opposite. But we can go back on track in no time, as long as we realize we need to.

According to Dr. Michael Merzenich, a follower of the neuroplasticity and neuropsychology pioneer Donald Hebb, our thoughts and the structural changes in the brain are closely related.

“Your experiences, behaviors, thinking, habits, thought patterns, and ways of reacting to the world are inseparable from how your brain wires itself.”

Furthermore, negative feelings are also influencing our brain activity.

Stress, depression, anxiety, and other conditions that disrupt our mental health severely affect the way our minds work. 

Alex Korb, Ph.D., author of The Upward Spiral, explains:

“In depression, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the brain. It’s simply that the particular tuning of neural circuits creates the tendency toward a pattern of depression. It has to do with the way the brain deals with stress, planning, habits, decision making, and a dozen other things — the dynamic interaction of all those circuits. And once a pattern starts to form, it causes dozens of tiny changes throughout the brain that create a downward spiral.”

In situations where it’s our mental health we need to take care of, neuroplasticity – the ability of neural networks in the brain to change through growth and reorganization – can both complicate things and help us cope.

So, what happens to your brain if you are constantly complaining?

You most probably know that one person who never says anything nice, focuses mainly on the negative side of things, and constantly complains about every little thing that doesn’t go as they wished. Perhaps, you are that person, and you don’t even know it.

We can safely deem those who behave that unpleasant way as negative people. While we all complain every now and then, they have turned this activity into a lifestyle. But they are also quite different from one another.

There are three general groups of complainers: Attention-seeking complainers, chronic complainers, and low-E.Q. complainers.

The first kind describes the people who use their constant objection as a way of attracting others’ attention. They often present themselves as the ones who struggle the most to gain sympathy.

Chronic complainers are those who never stop whining. Every single word they say is related to the fact that they are going through an unbearable hardship. However, instead of searching for solutions to their problems, they prefer to constantly grumble about them.

As for the low-E.Q. complainers, where E.Q. stands for emotional quotient, they are characterized by their lack of compassion. While they demand to be listened to while they dwell, they will show no empathy when you try to vent.

All three types of complainers owe their way of thinking to the way they use their brains. Simply put, if you concentrate mostly on the negative, you will alter your brain to get stuck on negative vibes. Therefore, you will have a lot to complain about, and you will fall into a neverending loop.

On the contrary, if you reconstruct your thoughts to be optimistic, or at least realistic, you will inevitably change your behavior for the positive as a result.

Could we oppose the negativity bias? 

The negativity bias is our brain’s tendency to focus on the negative. In many situations, we first see the adversity of the circumstances we experience. The neuroscientist Dr. Rick Hanson, author of Buddha’s Brain, says:

“Negative stimuli produce more neural activity than do equally intensive positive ones. They are also perceived more easily and quickly.”

Although we tend to see the negative first, we can learn how to change that. As long as we realize this way of thinking does no good to us and to the people around us, we should be motivated to make an effort to change the course of our perspective. While it is not possible to maintain a positive attitude 24/7, we can still try to avoid getting stuck on grumbling about every little thing that we disagree with.

Through repeatedly practicing gratitude, expressing positive affirmations, and meditating, we can effectively alter our brain activity to avoid concentrating on negativity. All it takes is a few minutes a day to remind yourself of all the good things in your life. These few minutes will help you transform your negative mindset into a positive one, which is a journey worth taking.

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