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Study: complaining physically damages the brain, body

While most Americans like to complain now and again, new research reveals that it is actually bad for the brain and the body, as the brain acts as a trained muscle.

complaints button

complaints button

Complaining: an innocent way to vent?

Complaining – it’s an act that seems harmless enough. It’s what you do when your husband gets you a Shake Weight instead of the Tiffany’s bracelet you’ve been pining over or what you and your coworkers do when the boss makes everyone stay an hour later. Complaining seems like an innocent way to vent, but in a book titled Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life, author Trevor Blake provides research showing complaining is actually damaging to the brain.

In the book, Blake cites research from Stanford studies showing that a person who is exposed to 30 minutes of complaining every day, physically damages their brain. It damages the neurons in the part of the brain used for problem solving and cognitive functioning by peeling back the neurons in those areas. If that doesn’t sound damaging enough, complaining also zaps energy from the person on the listening end. That explains why everyone seems so deflated after an hour long employee meeting spent complaining rather than coming up with actionable solutions.

The brain is a muscle

In addition to brain damage, the more you’re around a negative person, the more likely you are to mimic their behavior. “The latest neuro-scientific data shows that the brain works more like a muscle than we’ve previously thought so the more you repeat a behavior the more you become that behavior,” says Blake. “So if you surround yourself with a bunch of complainers the more likely you are to become a complainer yourself.”

Going on a rant every now and then is a good way to blow off steam, but do it all the time and you significantly decrease your ability to problem solve and engage in strategic thinking in the workplace. The business world is one where the best have to stay one step ahead of the pack. So allow yourself a few minutes of sulking and then begin coming up with ways to make the best of the situation, leaving your brain in fully functioning condition.

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Destiny Bennett is a journalist who has earned double communications' degrees in Journalism and Public Relations, as well as a certification in Business from The University of Texas at Austin. She has written stories for AustinWoman Magazine as well as various University of Texas publications and enjoys the art of telling a story. Her interests include finance, technology, social media...and watching HGTV religiously.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. karriflatla

    September 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    This ties back to the idea that thoughts become things and hey, if *thoughts* become things, then what do WORDS become? And how much more readily do our words impact our reality? Fascinating insights. Thanks for sharing!

  2. lethbridge reator

    October 10, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    I agree with that old comment by that other guy, i think complaining has so many negative consequence and effects on people. Stay positive and good things will come to you for sure.

  3. Pingback: 6 Reasons Why Tomorrow Is An Entrepreneur’s Enemy - crowdspring Blog

  4. Pingback: 6 Reasons Why Tomorrow Is an Entrepreneur’s Enemy - Small Biz DailySmall Biz Daily

  5. Pingback: Entrepreneurs Who Complain Are Setting Themselves Up For Failure - crowdspring Blog

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