Science has recently proven that complaining a lot physically rewires your brain and can cause severe bouts of anxiety and depression. The term “negativity breeds negativity” is really not too far from the truth after all…
There are many different types of people in the world, but the most noticeable divide is that of the positive folk and the negative folk. As part of our culture, everyone does indeed complain from time to time, but it is those who complain on a regular basis and have a consistently negative aura about them that are mostly affected by this growing problem. Some of the types of negative people are:
- Chronic complainers – This term refers to people who are constantly living in a state of complaint. These individuals do something scientists call “ruminating.” This means that instead of feeling a sense of release after complaining, the individual will find a way to continuously complain about something and cannot shift the negativity as a result. Chronic complainers often get stuck in “victim mode” and find it hard to see any positivity through the culmination of negative thoughts that are circulating around their mind. They are certainly not bad people by any means, and should be treated with sensitivity with an understanding nature.
- Venters – These individuals do what most of us do from time to time, yet they do it ALL the time. Venting is a great way for many people to shift their negative thoughts and tensions that have been picked up throughout their day. Venters often do not want to consider any solutions to their problems however, and would rather slip closer to chronic complain mode rather than dealing with the issues that have caused the negativity.
- Sympathy seekers – This includes individuals who try to share their negativity with others, almost finding comfort in confiding in others. They often act in such a way that makes the listener feel sorry for them, using a “poor me” sort of approach to their conversation. Again these individuals cannot be deemed as bad people, and due time should be taken to listen to their point of view and indeed offer positive energy in return.
As mentioned, waves of negativity are completely normal, especially in our hectic lives today and it is encouraged to “vent” in order to reset your energy levels and clear your mind of any negativity. However, the more you complain, on a regular basis, the more you will complain in the future and ultimately begin to suffer on a long term basis due to the stored negativity.
So how does negativity re-wire the brain then?
Donald Olding Hebb was a Canadian psychologist who is believed to be the father of neuropsychology and neural networks, and came up with a good explanation on how negativity can change the way the brain works. He discovered that neurons that “fire” together do indeed “wire” together. This means that groups of neurons link up in our brain due to certain things that we experience in life, such as emotions, feelings and situational experiences. Whenever we think of something, have an idea, have a feeling or a physical sensation, these groups of neurons connect in our brain in order to create a neural network. Our brains begin to remember these neural networks and in time learns to trigger the same neurons with repetitive thinking or experience or feeling.
So if you constantly complain, express negativity, or worry about things, it is inevitable that your brain is learning and remembering these neural networks and will express them in similar instances in the future. Repetition is the human brain’s best friend, so the more you complain about something, the higher risk you have of suffering long term side effects from your negativity. In conclusion, as humans we get very good at what we practice – so if we practice negativity regularly, we will more likely carve a negative path for ourselves throughout life. If we try our best to practice positivity, we will undoubtedly see the benefits and our brains will learn a more positive view on things to come.
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