Admit it, we all complain. It’s too hot out, your coworkers are irritating you, the dog pooped on the carpet. Whatever unfortunate and frustrating events occurred in your life on any given day are often vocally and repetitively announced to anyone within earshot. While these illustrations are minor, there are some very legitimate reasons to complain. However, though it may make you feel better for a time, complaining about situations out of your control could lead to serious health issues such as a pattern of negativity, and an unhealthy mindset. Here are a few reasons to nip your complaining in the bud and how to have a more positive attitude.
Can make the situation worse
Though many people seek relief and comfort from a difficult or irritating situation by vocally expressing their frustrations, this can actually make the dilemma harder to deal with. Those you turn to for advice or venting may not always respond in the way you hoped which could add fuel to the fire.
Programs your brain
Persistent patterns of behavior can reprogram your mind. For instance, if you are always griping about something or someone, you are more likely to repeat that same complaint in the future. Over time, it becomes second nature to be negative, and it is even harder to remain positive.
May shrink your brain
According to studies, negativity can actually shrink the part of your brain known as the hippocampus. The hippocampus is responsible for cognitive function including memory, problem-solving, and intelligent thought. Of course, this is also concerning because that is the area of the brain that is most commonly affected by Altzheimers.
Affects everyone else
17th-century author John Donne put it best when he said, “No man is an island.” When you think about the results of complaining, it isn’t only your own health and happiness you have to worry about. A negative, griping attitude will eventually wear down your loved ones and make them want to distance themselves from you, which could damage valuable relationships. Plus, it will hamper their own attempts to be upbeat and could sabotage their mental health as well.
Unhealthy coping mechanism
Occasional complaining, especially constructive, action-backed complaining is okay. There’s nothing wrong with expressing dissatisfaction with your situation. However, the problem arises when you begin to rely on constant complaining as your only coping mechanism. It doesn’t accomplish anything and will only lead to further frustration and disappointment.
Drains your physical health
The harmful effects of negative thinking aren’t confined to the brain or your mental health. Keeping your whole system in a constant state of stress can lead to emotional strain, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and pain, which can all impact your physical health and performance.
How to stop complaining
It’s all well and good to know you need to stop complaining, but breaking those habits of thinking can be hard. Especially if you are deeply ingrained in your negative patterns. These steps could help set you on the road to a more grateful mindset and improve your positivity.
Learn to adapt
Complaining is often the result of an unexpected change in situations or plans. Teach yourself to be more flexible and recognize that not everything can be controlled. Roll with the punches, as they say.
Define what a complaint is
Before you get all down on yourself for complaining, figure out what actually constitutes a complaint. Is there a valid reason for the expression? Or are you merely complaining because you are dissatisfied with your current circumstance?
Train your brain to focus on the positive
Journal, meditate, take a long walk. Do whatever you can to condition your mind to seek out the joy and positive aspects of your life. Write down everything you are grateful for and cultivate a spirit of thankfulness.
So often, complaining is directed at something out of your control. But frequently, it stems directly from circumstances that you could change. Cut out the people in your life who are causing you to complain, make practical steps to remove yourself from an unhealthy situation, and determine other ways to take action in your own life. Other times, you may have to tell yourself to accept something for what it is and make peace with the circumstance.