Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Did you ever notice that it’s easy to bond with someone over something negative? The crappy weather, LA traffic, the demise of democracy as we know it… the list of things to complain about is endless but there are many good reasons to resist the urge to partake in this depressing habit. Recent scientific studies have proved that chronic complaining or being subjected to it lowers your problem-solving capabilities. Even a few days of stress from complaining and focusing on the negative, damages the neurons in the hippocampus (the part of the brain used for problem-solving and cognitive functioning) and impairs its ability to create new neurons. Complaining can be compared to smoking, meaning you don’t have to be the one complaining for it to impact your health. Listening to other people complaining can have the same negative impact on the brain, as it does when you are the one doing the complaining. Stanford’s medical school research, conducted by Professor Sapolsky, found that exposure to as little as 30 minutes of complaining and negativity (including viewing this on TV) a day can physically damage your brain.
I don’t know about you but I need all the healthy brain cells I can get!
In this week’s Real Love Revolution video, I cover:
- What comprises a complaint
- Why you should end the cycle of chronically complaining
- Simple strategies to help change this negative habit
- How complaining is bad for your health and the health of people around you
Before we go into how to fix it, we have to establish what a complaint is. Today it was 90 degrees in New York. If I said “I can’t believe it’s 90 degrees, it’s so shocking since it’s only June,” that’s not a complaint. But if I say “I can’t believe it’s 90 degrees, I hate it and want to move to Alaska,” that is a complaint. We are making a distinction between an observation and assigning a negative value to the experience.
The first step to changing this behavior could be to conduct an internal 24-48 hour survey of how often you complained or wanted to complain. Make notes of what was happening right before to see if you can establish a behavioral pattern. The next step is to use the power of your own intention to go on a complaining fast. Click below to download the Guide to End Chronic Complaining for some simple strategies to break this damaging pattern now. Your brain will thank you.
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