Thursday, September 6, 2012

Save Your Brain, Don't Complain!

I think it is safe to assume that there is someone in each of our lives who complains a lot, or never stops complaining, and they probably annoy you from time to time. What I bet you didn’t know, is that they are turning your brain to mush… actually!

A recent tweet I came across sent me to an article that discusses how listening to complainers is bad for your brain; that this exposure to negativity actually affects your brain function. Weird right? But also kind of makes sense.  Whenever I’m around a negative person, or see a negative comment on social media, I definitely have an adverse reaction. I am not a fan of negativity. Isn’t it a waste of energy? That being said, we all have the odd bad day or bad luck, but those are exceptions, whereas some people appear to CREATE a bad day out of a seemingly common situation. 

So back to the article, in studies done on brain activity using different stimuli, the brain was found to act like a muscle and “if you’re pinned in a corner for too long listening to someone being negative, you’re more likely to behave that way as well.” Yes, this makes sense. It’s hard to be happy when someone else just keeps raining on the parade of life. Another interesting finding was that complaining, whether in person or on TV, can even make you dumb. It apparently peels away neurons in the brain’s hippocampus (yup, hippocampus!) which is “the part of your brain you need for problem solving… basically, it turns your brain to mush.” 

Another thing worth noting is that there is a difference between a complaining and something constructive, like feedback that may be negative. People who complain aren’t necessarily looking for a solution. You can go ahead and ask them “so what are you going to do about it” and they might answer with a blank stare (or more complaining). 

I am a lucky girl in that I don’t really have many “complainers” in my life. I know this is a conscious decision on my part. I definitely distance myself from them.  As I said before we ALL have our bad days but we do something about it, or at least change our mindset. What’s not normal is the resistance to do so. 

If you’re stuck with someone who is just complaining for the sake of complaining, and isn’t looking to fix it, the article suggests that you distance yourself. Or drink some wine to protect your brain from what they’re saying… oh wait, that’s my suggestion. Let’s all remember whatever challenges come our way, LIFE IS GOOD. 

Nina Garcia, Tweet, Complainers, advice


  1. Reminds me of one of my favourite quotes: "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change the way you feel about it." And the wine is a most excellent suggestion!