How complaining can kill you
According to a Stanford study, engaging in complaining or even listening to it for over 30 minutes can lead to physical damage of the neurons in our hippocampus, which is responsible for cognitive function and problem solving. Moreover, it also affects our physical wellbeing and triggers cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol helps with memory formulation, regulation of metabolism and inflammation and controls blood sugar levels. When you complain regularly, you reduce your capability to process information.
High levels of cortisol make us increasingly stress-reactive. Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, explains “Stress reactivity is particularly harmful. Stress reactivity means that you are threat reactive – that you have a low threshold for threat – and a perceived threat triggers a stress response.” Stress response can make us “stupid” as anticipating action “moves blood flow away from the neocortex and into your muscles. The stress response also makes you egocentric, as your self-preservation instincts take over, lowering your empathy and compassion,” she adds. In fact, stress response and enhanced cortisol can result in a weakened immune system and boost the risk for diseases, cholesterol, blood pressure as well as weight gain. According to the science of happiness, complaining can actually kill you.
Change your perspective
We cannot anticipate or control life. More often than not, life doesn’t go our way and we find comfort in complaining about all that is wrong in our lives. But by avoiding the temptation to complain, developing a new perspective and implementing positive psychology strategies, we can boost our ability to cope with challenges and experience happiness. Moreover, it can also allow us to live a longer and healthier life.
“To avoid the damage caused by a good rag session, look for other ways to solve the problems that trigger your complaining. By removing the root cause, the complaining will go along with it,” suggests entrepreneur John Rampton.