Complaining Rewires Your Brain For Negativity – 046
In episode 46, we check in to see how Jenny and I are doing so far with this month’s challenge where we are being mindful to stop complaining, criticizing and gossiping.
Then we share some compelling research about how complaining actually rewires your brain for negativity.
I’m diggin’ an episode of The Goop Podcast featuring Brene Brown and Jenny’s diggin’ a cool co-working space in St. Thomas.
Jenny’s win is related to getting back on track with her abstainer ways and no more sweet treats and my learn is related to an unfortunate hot wax incident.
Tune in and Listen Below
What You’ll Hear (and don’t want to miss!)
1:37:We check in to see how we are doing so far with this month’s challenge which is all about not complaining, criticizing or gossiping.
4:45: We share some compelling research complaining rewires your brain for negativity
11:12: Who are You Anyway: What do you complain about?
17:42: What are You Diggin’ Lately?: This week I’m diggin’ an episode of The Goop Podcast with Brene Brown and Jenny’s diggin’ an awesome co-working place in St. Thomas
21:42: You Win or You Learn: Jenny’s win this week is related to being back on track with no sweet treats and my learn relates to a hot wax incident
28:37: We wrap it up for this week. Next week we will check in to see how Jenny and I are doing with the no complaint challenge.
Resources + Links Mentioned in This Episode:
Book: A Complaint Free World by Will Bowen
Website: Will Bowen; A Complaint Free World (this is where you can order the bracelets if you are so inspired)
Podcast: The Goop Podcast: Gwyneth x Brene Brown: On the Roots of Shame, Courage, and Vulnerability
The Atrium in St. Thomas
The promised picture of my unfortunate wax burn 🙁
Research shows that most people complain once a minute during a typical conversation. Complaining is tempting because it feels good, but like many other things that are enjoyable—such as smoking or eating a pound of bacon for breakfast—complaining isn’t good for you.
Your brain loves efficiency and doesn’t like to work any harder than it has to. When you repeat a behavior, such as complaining, your neurons branch out to each other to ease the flow of information. This makes it much easier to repeat that behavior in the future—so easy, in fact, that you might not even realize you’re doing it.
You can’t blame your brain. Who’d want to build a temporary bridge every time you need to cross a river? It makes a lot more sense to construct a permanent bridge. So, your neurons grow closer together, and the connections between them become more permanent. Scientists like to describe this process as, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”
Repeated complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely. Over time, you find it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what’s happening around you. Complaining becomes your default behavior, which changes how people perceive you.
And here’s the kicker: complaining damages other areas of your brain as well. Research from Stanford University has shown that complaining shrinks the hippocampus—an area of the brain that’s critical to problem solving and intelligent thought. Damage to the hippocampus is scary, especially when you consider that it’s one of the primary brain areas destroyed by Alzheimer’s.
Complaining Is Also Bad for Your Health
While it’s not an exaggeration to say that complaining leads to brain damage, it doesn’t stop there. When you complain, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol shifts you into fight-or-flight mode, directing oxygen, blood, and energy away from everything but the systems that are essential to immediate survival. One effect of cortisol, for example, is to raise your blood pressure and blood sugar so that you’ll be prepared to either escape or defend yourself.
All the extra cortisol released by frequent complaining impairs your immune system and makes you more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It even makes the brain more vulnerable to strokes.
Share your thoughts… We’d love to hear from you!
What was your biggest take away from this episode? What do you complain about?
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The Improvement Project podcast is hosted by Dr. Peggy Malone and Jenny Couse. Peggy is a health care provider who encourages her patients every day to create better habits associated with their health and wellness. She is wife to the hilarious and heavily bearded John, with whom she takes many adventures. Dr. Peggy is also a human being on a mission to create better habits for herself and by doing so, she hopes to inspire others to take up the challenge with her! Jenny is a marketing professional in the international trade sector. She and her husband Jeff are parents to hilarious 5 year old Ethan. Her year of monthly habit resolutions in 2015 piqued her interests in how habits are created and best kept.
Join them weekly to explore how to create healthy habits that stick on the journey to becoming better humans!
Until next time,
Let’s get to work on improving your most important project. That’s YOU! Stay focused and get after it!
Thank you so much for listening.
Peggy and Jenny