Airing out your grievances, gorging on bacon, and smoking – what do these things have in common? All of them stimulate the feeling of satisfaction and hence, they are enjoyable. However, not everything fun is good for us, especially the ones mentioned beforehand.
But let’s focus on complaining, which may come so naturally for us. In fact, a study found that people do it once every minute, can you believe that? While we may not be conscious about this habit, it is best we weigh if it’s really advantageous or disadvantageous for us.
While venting out is seen as an inevitable behavior, some see it as something that attracts bad vibes. We can’t hide the fact that releasing your sentiments and complaints somehow releases stress, like you just got heavy things off your chest. However, the study found that this behavior actually hampers our productivity and could prove to be dangerous to our health. How does it happen?
Rewiring the Brain
Whenever we repeatedly let out some steam, our brain’s neurons branch out in a way that the information flows through easily and seamlessly, which makes sense. It might as well think of a way to make the task easier next time the behavior happens again. However, in doing so, it made complaining easier to do, sometimes to the point that we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
To put it bluntly, the growing neurons tend to get closer together and later on, the link becomes permanent. So, constant complaining would rewire your brain to likely make future complaints. Plus, once you get used to this behavior, it can be your “default” action regardless if you’re reacting on a positive or negative event. Of course, this can greatly affect how you interact with people and how others perceive you.
On Our Health
Complaining doesn’t only rewire our brains so that it becomes easier for it to happen repeatedly, it also harms other areas of our brain, namely the hippocampus, the part which is responsible for memory storage, problem-solving, and obtaining knowledge. According to a Stanford University study, the behavior could lead to the shrinkage of the part – it is worth noting that Alzheimer’s disease targets the same part of the brain.
When it comes to our bodies, complaining stimulates the release of cortisol, a hormone that is involved with stress. The chemical is part of our bodies’ flight-or-fight mechanisms, which instructs energy, blood, and oxygen, among many others, to focus on systems that are in charge of helping you survive in the situation. Habitual blowing off the steam can lead to excess cortisol, which could mean high blood pressure and blood sugar.
If you are not fond of complaining but a friend of yours is, there’s a chance that you may follow his/her behavior. It’s not a communicable disease, per se, but it is because of neuronal mirroring, a process in which we tend to follow or copy the actions of those we spend a lot of time with.
So just like smoking where you don’t have to smoke to feel the adverse effect, you need to be wary with the ones you constantly hang out with. Plus, those who express their complaints usually want you to join in the pity party, which is not healthy at all.