The Effects of Complaining on the Brain- #behappy

Complaining is a natural tendency of human nature. Sometimes it feels good to just vent, process thoughts from your head and spit them out of your mouth. Life will never be perfect, so there will always be plenty to complain about. But what are the effects of complaining on our brains? Why is it so easy to complain? Is it really worth it?

Effects of Complaining on the Brain

Dr. Rick Hanson, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley and New York Times best-selling author, found that negativity, which includes complaining, produces more neural activity than do equally intense positive ones. Basically, the brain finds it easier to process negative thoughts or words. For example, in studies, people can identify angry faces faster than happy ones because the fight-or-flight part of the brain gets activated quickly by the angry faces. 😡 Ooh, now you’re ready to complain!

Therefore, we have to work harder to not fall back on our natural human tendency to complain when we are under stress.

3 Tips to Help with a Positive Attitude

  • Don’t beat yourself up. Know that it is the natural tendency for humans to complain. Find your triggers. When you know a trigger is coming (e.g., a stressful situation, a person, a place, etc. that makes you want to complain), prepare yourself. Get your mind ready to deal with the positive aspects of a situation rather than the negative ones. You can also avoid a situation that may trigger negativity/complaining.
  • Gratitude. Have you ever been told in school that when all else fails in a multiple choice test, pick answer C? It wasn’t the best advice, but I’ve heard it many times as the “go to” answer. I feel like gratitude is the “go to” answer for so many problems. When you feel like complaining, think about all of the good in your life. The other day I was complaining 😡 about something stupid, and I saw a mother helping her bald, pale-skinned daughter carry a few things. Her daughter was fighting cancer. I’ll tell you how quickly I was grateful for my health and my children’s health! (Like in 5 seconds!) Think about what you are grateful for at least once you wake up and before bed.
  • Don’t take on more than you can handle. Don’t say yes to this or that if you are going to just complain about it. If you are going to agree to take something on, just do it. Remember why you said yes. How is the project benefiting you or others? Is it worth your time?

Complaining Summary

The next time you have to wait in heavy traffic or you feel stressed out, try and stop yourself from complaining. Remember, that you are feeding your brain negative thoughts, which attracts more negative thoughts. Work hard to rewire your brain with positive neural pathways. It takes effort, but it will get easier the more you work at it. I’m working on it with you! ☀️ The sun rises every day.

What has your experience been like with complaining? Do you have any “go to” tips that have helped you to stay positive?


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44 thoughts on “The Effects of Complaining on the Brain- #behappy

  1. Amen and great advice. There is always something to be thankful for and it will start to erase the negative that is creeping in. Like your traffic example. Thank you God for this traffic, thank you that I have a car to get me places, bless all of your children that are stuck in this traffic with me. Thank you Lord for keeping me safe, as I am driving, and keep all your children safe. The list could go on. It will make you feel better, so Ipuna this is spot on, as always 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Margaret, thank you for your comment as always. You are so right with the little things like thank you that I even can afford a car! I used to ride the public bus to work when I was 16. I’m thankful for cars for sure! I hope you have a wonderful day!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So true! We have to force ourselves off that bad negative track or it snowballs. I’ve had to work really hard on not complaining, but it has come easier to me now. Additionally, I am more positive. Win win. Have a great day, Keith!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome post! Great coping tips as usual. “Go to” complaining-killer? Hmmm… they say smiling releases hormones that make us “feel good.” Don’t know how true that is, but I like to go a step further and try to see the humor in whatever’s making me complain, and it always helps. Laughter is the key for me, although, the outside observer may think I’m nuts.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post as always! This came at the right time because, well, I’m sorry to say that I’ve been more complaining this past few days while I was having flu and PMS and stressed with important paperwork that can’t be put off. Not fun, I know. 😅

    But I’m grateful, because my dear husband tried to cheer me up in many ways. ❤️ Also because I’m mostly better from the flu (I heard when we get ill, it’s our body’s way of telling us to slow down), and that I’m mostly done with the paperwork so the bulk of the stress is over! Nothing like looking back to see what a big road bump we just crossed. 😆

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nicolle,
      Man, when I get sick + tired, um…I complain too! I’m getting better. We are human! Your body was probably telling you to slow down! Nice hubby. So glad you are feeling better. Never fun being sick, but you probably needed the down time!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it was nice taking a weekend off writing (by posting a video) after several weeks of writing super long posts about video games that require tons of reading, and I keep getting squirrel syndrome and reading additional stuff I don’t need! Yeah, I probably overdid it, but at least it’s done now. 😆

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A great number of people actually need to learn that everyone has his/her own limits and not everyone has similar capabilities. Perhaps this is the reason why many people around the world don’t value their uniqueness, because they’re​ all busy trying to be unhappy for the wrong reasons. Happiness lies in accepting individuality!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes! Happiness is not defined by circumstance. Circumstance always changes, but we don’t have to change with it. We can choose to find happiness in every step of our walk. Thanks, Jothish! You are so smart!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post, Sunshine. I especially loved the gratitude bit. Soo true and very relatable.
    For example, instead of saying “grr” all the time 😜😜. be grateful that God has entrusted another child into your loving arms. 😂😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know, right! I had to practice it at first, but I’m getting better at it. If I start complaining, more negativity comes! That’s never productive. Nice to meet you, Rebecca! I like your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so true! I have been watching Dr. John Bergman’s videos on youtube and he talks about stuff like this as well and believes in natural healing of the body. You should look him up, I think you will like his videos a lot 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooh, I like the homeopathic approach that he takes. I’m all for that, especially after Jy’s incidence. Homeopathic stuff has really helped him. I just looked him up! Too funny that you said I should. I should write some more stuff on homeopathic options…hmmm.
      Have a wonderful weekend, Alifya!


  7. Whenever someone asks me how I’m doing, I’ll usually say “Can’t complain… I could, but what good does it to?” – It really doesn’t. Why look at the bad, when it’s always better to look at the good? As always, a wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for this post. I’ve been going though a rough couple of years. (My mother-in-law died of cancer, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, my baby had bad reflux, among other things…) Things are starting to look up now. But for awhile I know that I complained a lot. I didn’t even enjoy being around me some days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So sorry to hear about your last couple of years. It seems that when it rains it pours with problems. It’s hard to stay positive all the time. I have to work at it, and it gets easier. I still complain because I’m human (ha ha), but I try really hard to see anything positive in my life. That helps me to push forward.

      Liked by 1 person

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