|Why we complain
Friday’s Food for Thought by Reverse Focus
"Let’s admit it. Complaining feels good. It’s a cathartic exercise. But like other enjoyable activities such as eating a pound of bacon or indulging our sweet tooth, complaining often is unhealthy. The more you complain the more your brain begins to catalog and connect other negative experiences rewiring our brain to quickly connect you to negative emotions more efficiently. Research from Stanford University shows that habitual complaining impacts the hippocampus, the area of the brain we use for critical thinking. Physically, complaining releases the stress hormone cortisol increasing our blood pressure, increasing inflammation, and in some cases leads to heart disease. The more you complain, the more you wire your brain to default to negativity.
We have two choices. Cease complaining or use what one author calls ‘solutionoriented complaining’. Constructive complaining should have a clear purpose, desired outcome, and being by identifying something positive. Just as many of use use the sandwich method when complaining or criticizing placing our complaint in the middle of two positive statements, we should do the same for our own internal thought process and verbal complaints. And when it comes to complaining out loud the power of our words should be considered. The emotional response of saying “I am so angry right now” versus “I’m a bit irritated” are strikingly different.
When I consider those I admire most personally and in this industry it is those who have the strength to remain positive in the face of adversity. Do we give negativity more or less power in our choice of words?"