How complaining affects you

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

How your brain works

We all like to complain about the things we don't like. When we complain we get a temporary relief as a result of getting rid of some of our suppressed emotions. But do you know that the disadvantages of complaining far outweighs its advantages?

Before i tell you why complaining is bad for you i will have to quickly explain how your brain works. The brain is like a very large network of beliefs, thoughts and ideas that are connected together. As soon as any kind of external input directs the brain into a certain direction the brain recalls all of the items that are related to that external input.

Now here is the shocking fact. The words you say , even the ones you say to yourself, are considered an external input as well.

In my article how words can change your brain and life i explained how words can force your brain to go into a certain direction and to recall all related thoughts.

If i mentioned the word Dog then probably your brain will fetch many of the things that are related to Dogs from its large database whether those things are good or bad.

So how can this be connected to complaining?
In simple words complaining forces your brain into a negative direction and as a result affects your mood in a really bad way.

How complaining affects you

Here is how complaining affects you:

  • 1) Your brain is forced in the negative direction: As soon as you complain about something your brain will be forced to recall all the negative events related to that thing. Yes you might get a temporary relief but shortly you will feel worse as a result of the negative thoughts you triggered. See also How to Overcome Negative Thinking
  • 2) You will recall more negative things: Once you start thinking negatively about one thing your brain will force you to think negatively about many unrelated things. You might wonder what's the connection in here? The connection here is negativity. Once the brain thinks of something it looks for the things that are related to it and because negativity is considered one thing the brain tries to locate more negative things. This is another reason why bad things seem to happen together. See why bad things happen together
  • 3) You become helpless: Once you get into the complaining mood you become helpless. In my book The 5 Minute Happiness Formula i said that happiness is all about sending the right signal to your brain. If you started to complain then you are sending your brain a signal telling it that you prefer to be helpless than to take an action.
  • 4) Your brain gets re-wired for negativity: The more you complain the easier complaining becomes for your brain. After all the brain is a very plastic organ and it adapts quickly to your habits and behaviour. This is why people who keep complaining usually end up becoming very negative
  • 5) You reduce your chance of solving the problem: When you complain you use a large part of your brain's resources thus leaving little resources for problem solving, creative thinking and innovation. In other words complaining might force you to remain in the same spot

How to complain properly

In addition to the previous points complaining also reduces self-esteem. In the Ultimate guide to becoming confident i said that your identity, or the way you see yourself, is developed as a result of your behaviour.

If you started to believe that you are a helpless negative person then your self confidence will get lower. The right way to complain is to act immediately in order to solve the problems that concern you.

If you want to complain then complain by working harder, thinking smarter and being more innovative. Complain by solving your problems not by saying negative things that will lead you nowhere.

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