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You got to stop complaining all the time as it’s toxic for you

Published on:19 August 2021, 14:33pm IST
Complaining or venting to friends is natural when we are under stress, but it should only be done in moderation. Here’s how you can deal with it.
Geetika Sachdev
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complaining can be toxic (1)
Constant complaining is toxic in many ways. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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We go through severe professional and personal stress, which leaves us feeling drained almost all the time. Most of the time, our natural reflex is to vent to people who are close to us. Now, let’s get this straight — complaining is not bad at all, but when you do it constantly, it can turn toxic in more ways than one. That’s because complaining signifies that you are not accepting of what’s happening in your life. Unfortunately, it carries a very negative energy. So, when you complain, you portray yourself as the victim. Although we know everything, we still continue to complain. Why is it so?

What are the reasons for complaining?

For most of us, it is an integral part of our social DNA. In fact, research goes on to show that the average person complains once every minute, during any conservation. Moreover, most people complain at least 15-20 times a day. For some people, complaining helps to loosen themselves up, and is a great way to form social bonds. It is often perceived that complaining helps you relieve stress, but how much is too much? The fact is that all of us have a certain amount of energy and time, so any time that we spend whining is not going to help us achieve our goals.

mental health
Complaining can be quite bad for your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Does complaining rewire your brain and make it more negative?

According to Canadian neurologist Donald Hebb, neurons that fire together, wire together. Research shows that Hebb was right, because complaining does rewire your brain for negativity, especially at a neurological level. It impacts your brain so much that both negative thinking and speech become an integral part of you, so much so that you start seeking negativity. That’s because you are used to it! This means that you find it harder to make decisions or solve problems, because your mind goes into a tizzy because of all the stress.

Moreover, according to research by Stanford University, complaining causes our hippocampus to become smaller. And again, complaining reinforces negative neural pathways, and makes you see more problems than solutions. But that doesn’t mean you don’t vent at all, because suppressing your emotions is also harmful. At the end of the day, it is essential to stop taking things personally and tap into our power and potential.

mental health
You need to actively shift your focus away from complaining. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
How can you overcome this situation?

1. Complain for a reason
When you complain with a purpose, you are coming from an action-oriented place. In this manner, you are complaining to fix something, instead of doing it just to seek pity. When you do this, you also become more self-aware.

2. Use ‘but’ often
If you want to keep the cycle of complaining in check, make sure to use it often. This means that you can say ‘the weather is terrible today, but I am still glad about stepping out with my friends.’ What happens here is that you get that little outlet to complain, and at the same time, look at the brighter side.

mental health
Complaining less will help you improve your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Keep a gratitude journal
This is essential and helps in so many ways. So, instead of using Instagram as a platform to showcase how grateful you are, try and keep a diary that speaks about all the things that are going well in your life. Write down a page every single day, and if there’s a person you have gratitude for, let them know directly.

4. Use social media constructively
This is really hard, we know, but scrolling through social media all day won’t do you any good. Instead, try and use it in such a way that it compliments your passions and goals, instead of being on it just to complain and seek out conflict.

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.