Sometimes there is nothing better then sitting down with a bunch of girlfriends and having a good vent. Your husband keeps leaving the toilet seat up. Your kids are driving you crazy. Your boss makes your life a misery. Endless housework and shopping and driving the kids everywhere. You feel tired, look haggard and you haven’t had any fun for weeks. (Sound familiar yet?)
Getting negativity off your chest can be great, but when complaining becomes a daily habit, it turns out that it’s not just annoying to those around you, it is actually damaging your health:
- Chronic complaining has been shown to shrink the hippocampus–that’s the area of the brain responsible for problem solving. Less problem solving=bad.
- Chronic complaining also increases the stress hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol have been associated with decreased immune function, increased blood sugar and blood pressure, increased weight gain, and a whole host of chronic diseases. Also bad.
Things get worse, though, because, as the article above states, “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.”
What to do about it?
Travis Bradberry, writing for Entrepeuner.com has a couple of great ideas.
Be grateful. Every time you feel yourself complaining about your lot in life, stop. Stop yourself and think of something you are grateful for. Kids making you crazy? Think how grateful you are that they are all healthy and well and you are not spending your Christmas season with one of them in the hospital.
Be purposeful. Sometimes our complaining is an insight into something in our life that has to change. Consistently complaining about a job? Maybe it’s time to consider a career change. Not happy with your weight? Time to get off of the couch. Not happy with your finances? Maybe it’s time to sit down and make a plan.
Not happy with your husband? That’s up to you, but at the risk of harming your hippocampus, I’m sure your girlfriends will still tolerate a little more complaining…:)