Did you know that complaining changes the way your brain works and is bad for your health?
Expressing bitterness or dissatisfaction is referred to as complaining, whining or grumbling. Contrary to what we might believe, complaining has a substantial negative influence on both our happiness and our brains.
Everybody grumbles; the typical person does so 15–30 times per day. You probably can’t count the number of times you’ve grumbled today. The majority of the time, we vent our feelings to feel better, not to inflict others with hostility. But there are gaping holes in this logic. Complaining not only has a tendency to make us feel worse, but it also spreads and depresses others around us. Although complaining is terrible for our mood and the mood of people listening, there are other problems with complaining as well. It’s also detrimental to your health and brain.
How can complaining impact brain function?
Psychologists have discovered that complaining shrinks our hippocampus, which is in charge of memory and problem-solving, according to research from Stanford University. According to the study, listening to someone grumble for more than 30 minutes or grumbling ourselves can harm our brains. Our brains generally don’t want to work any harder than they have to, much like people in general. Our neurons begin to stretch out to one another when we repeatedly engage in specific behaviours, such as complaining, to facilitate the easier flow of information. Your likelihood of later having negative thoughts rises in direct proportion to how often you complain. In the field of neurology, this idea is described by the adage ‘synapses that fire together connect together’.
There are numerous synaptic clefts between synapses in the brain. Each time you think, a chemical signal is sent from one synapse to another synapse across the synaptic cleft. Over time, “bridges” are constructed for the transmission of electrical impulses. These electrical signals’ charge carries the pertinent data you’re considering. The synapses get closer together each time this electrical charge is activated to shorten the distance that it must travel. To make it simpler and more likely for the appropriate synapses to share the chemical link and spark together—basically, to make it easier for the thought to trigger—the brain is physically altering its control systems. It’s also feasible for positive circuits to grow so that they experience good thoughts more frequently than negative ones because the race is won by the synapses that are closest together. It’s therefore much simpler for you to have the same thought again after you’ve already had it, which is bad news for pessimists! Along with having more negative thoughts, you’re also more prone to have them at random while going about your everyday activities.
It seems that our social circles have an impact as well. Being around complainers all the time might be just as damaging as grumbling yourself. This is because your brain similarly changes its wiring. Due to the way our brains are organised, when we observe someone expressing rage or sadness, our brains simulate it to better understand what they are feeling. The same synapses fire in the same ways, and our brains try to do the same thing to help us empathise with others. This is not meant to suggest that we abandon our friends who may be going through a tough time; rather, because we know that our energy spreads, we can choose to be upbeat and encourage them.
What are the health risks of complaining?
Complaining is detrimental to your health and is bad for your brain, too. Cortisol, a hormone that also triggers our fight-or-flight reaction, is released into the body when we complain. When our fight-or-flight reaction is triggered, our brain diverts blood, oxygen, and energy away from unnecessary systems. We are more likely to develop heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and strokes as a result of repeated complaining because cortisol is released in higher quantities. According to research, 95% of customers who experience problems with a product don’t contact the manufacturer directly; instead, they tell eight to sixteen other people about their experiences. Because we aren’t complaining to the people who can fix our problem, it is ineffective. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is also released into the system during venting. We tell ourselves that we need to vent, yet every time we do, we become angry all over again. We get 10 to 12 times more irritated as a result. Optimists often live longer than pessimists, according to a study that was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Optimists were discovered to have a 55% lower risk of mortality from all causes and a 23% lower risk of dying from heart disease.
Indicators that you complain too much
While having your voice heard is vital, receiving repeated criticism is bad for your physical and mental health as well as the wellness of others around you. It can be detrimental to our immune system to constantly complain about situations that are out of our control. Some indicators that can help determine if you are complaining excessively are:
- You hardly attempt to solve problems – Instead of coming up with solutions when you’re given a specific problem to fix, you’ll begin chatting about the issue at hand, complain about how horrible it is, and engage in pointless discourse. It’s one thing to bring up a potential problem and have a conversation about it, but when faced with conflict and all you do is complain, it won’t help.
- You experience a sense of helplessness – You get a sense of helplessness when discussing circumstances that are beyond your control. Thinking and talking about uncontrollable events leaves you feeling helpless, and you will experience a sense of futility over circumstances because you are concentrating on the negative rather than the positive.
- At the end of each day, you feel worn out – At the end of the day, complaining excessively might wear you out psychologically and physically. The body’s stress response is triggered when you complain, think about, or express anxieties, and this persistent activation results in poor energy.
- You remain fixated on the past – You’re probably going above and beyond complaining if you frequently discuss issues from the past that have been resolved. Recycling previous problems will not improve your circumstance or you. It only serves to bring back painful memories of things that have passed away and are no longer relevant to your life.
- You experience anxiety – By bringing up unpleasant memories, you can activate concern and stress that is felt even at the cellular level, which can increase your levels of anxiety and stress. Constantly grumbling changes your brain’s wiring, increasing the likelihood that you will do so again, and changing your mindset to one that is perpetually pessimistic.
- You usually have a bad mood – When we are focused on what is going wrong in life, it is difficult to feel joy. You should think of hope and gratitude instead because doing so improves your attitude and level of happiness.
- You’re easily irritated – It may be because you complain so much that other people frequently irritate you. The mind and body experience these memories as though they are truly occurring when we talk about problems all the time. We are distracted from goal-setting by complaining, which irritates us. If you are always complaining about how things aren’t going your way, it’s difficult to stay upbeat or motivated.
Complaining correctly to get results
How should we handle a problem? Effective complaints can lessen anxiety and enhance interpersonal relationships in addition to producing a remedy. Some advice that can help are:
- A COMPLAINT NEEDS TO BE FOR A PURPOSE – Do not complain to a corporation or a person until you have decided what you want. Finding a purpose offers two advantages. It first aids in emotional relaxation. We all have a finite amount of intellectual capacity. The more we reflect on our goals, the less thrashing we will do. Second, it enhances the ability of the other person to assist you. If you’re not sure what you want, the other person might not know how to fix the problem either. While venting to a partner, friend, or coworker, having a purpose is especially crucial because you’ll likely spend the least time getting ready. This could be when things go “south”. Delay voicing your displeasure until you are certain of why you are dissatisfied and what you desire.
- MENTION SOMETHING POSITIVE TO BEGIN WITH – Set the stage for a favourable conclusion before delving into the challenge. An accusation constitutes a complaint. Although it’s common to become defensive, you should try to convey your criticism in a way that encourages the other person to assist. Mention a favourable aspect of your relationships, such as your long-standing patronage or your shared pursuit of the same objective. It lessens their defences and increases their likelihood of hearing what you have to say after that.
- SUBMIT A SIMPLE COMPLAINT – Don’t go into exhaustive detail if the issue has existed for a while. Instead, discuss the most recent event. Keep as many of the facts straight and temper your emotions. You want to be as straightforward and precise as you can.
- FINISH WITH ANOTHER POSITIVE STATEMENT – End on a positive note to complete your complaint. Let them know that if the issue is fixed, your partnership will grow. You could also just say, “I would genuinely appreciate your cooperation”. Your complaint will be easier to digest if it is sandwiched between two affirmative statements. You’re more likely to achieve your goals when you include the positives. The person will find you much easier to work with, and they’ll be more inspired to use their resources to aid you than if they feel insulted because you were ranting.
- THINK OF YOUR LISTENER – A complaint is a polite request for assistance, and we always ask for assistance politely. This might be challenging since we lack the motivation to be kind when we are most irritated. At the very least, acknowledge your feelings if you are unable to control them. When you find someone who can assist you, explain that you are likely frustrated and that “I’m sorry if I sound irritated; it’s not you.” Tell them it’s not a personal attack. They will value that.
- LET IT GO – Whatever the result, be prepared to move on rather than wallow in it. It can be beneficial to appropriately express your complaints. These little annoyances can harm our mental health. We need to adopt good emotional hygiene practices and break harmful behaviours. You will only feel violated if you decide to do the action that would make you angry. However, taking action gives you a sense of empowerment and boosts your confidence. An excellent indicator of your general emotional hygiene is how you manage complaints.
We choose before we complain. The circumstances may be bad. You have sent out all the applications but still can’t get admitted into a University. Have you tried ATAFOM University International? You can decide to take in the information and concentrate on how the circumstance can help you improve, develop, and become a better individual. Take advantage of the situation to create room for strength and move toward happiness. Happiness can be attained as you strive towards that cherished degree at ATFAOM University. For instance, a rejection letter or a silent admission officer need not spell the end of your world as you know it. It may present an opportunity to pause and consider your values and dislikes. It may serve to draw attention to potential problems so you can avoid them in the future or greater opportunities like those available at ATAFOM University. So, stop complaining and choose wisely today. Choose ATAFOM University!