Can Complaining Too Much Make You More Negative?
When we complain we often don’t realize what all that complaining does to our mind. We are usually told that complaining too much would lead to more complaining, which will then lead to feeling of sadness.
A professor at Clemson University in South Carolina believes there are multiple types of complainers. The main types include:
- Sympathy seekers
- Chronic complainers
All three of these types of complainers seek attention when complaining, but for different motivations. The venters like to speak about their day, and vent their problems to other to release them from their chest, so to speak; Allowing them to share the problem, which makes that problem, not only theirs to bear. This type of complainer usually is just not happy with something in a particular moment, and is not interested to hear about opinions or solutions to their issue from others that they vent to.
Sympathy seekers are obvious; they seek comforting to their complaints and usually have high expectations from people. When they do not get the reaction they wanted from the person they are complaining to, they simply shut down and isolate themselves. They also believe that their situation is far worse than everyone else’s, and that they got marked with bad luck. They tend to complain of not being able to do much without the help of someone at their side. However, this can also play out to childhood fears that have not been conquered.
Chronic complainers are people who want to hear no solutions from you, or look up ways to solve their problems. Their complaints become part of their character, and they tend to obsess over complaining about something, until they are distracted by something else to complain about. They are also usually in a constant state of complaining, where they would complain about every little and big thing in their way if they are having a bad day.
So, exactly how does complaining too much make us more negative? Well, the answer is all in our brain. When we complain, our brain would send signals to the neurons making them trigger neutral behavior. This behavior creates a neutral network, which establishes itself in the brain. The brain then finds it easier to conform to that neutral network or behavior. So essentially when we start complaining, our mind will always go into negative mode as we are complaining of only the negative.
When we create a neutral network of positive feelings like being grateful and feeling happy, our brain will reflect positivity. Of course, we might have some off days where we can’t see some positive in our brain, but that’s why it is very important to not rely entirely on it.
Our brain can show us reason and logic, but our heart can show us love and forgiveness. Open up your mind and your heart to life and cut back on some of these complaints. You would be surprised to see how fast your mood can be elevated.
However, research has also proved that “constructive complaining” can actually boost happiness, and improve your mental health. Constructive complaining is said to be “complaining for the purpose of resolving a concern or grievance in a way to channel your needs into actionable outcomes. This can lead to positive experiences like self-awareness (mindfulness) and happiness.”
Mindfulness in complaining is also explained by the professor of psychology, Robin Kowalski, and she said, mindfulness “may be a means of attenuating one’s likelihood of expressing pet peeves when one is feeling happy. Perhaps people who are more mindful modulate the type of complaints they offer, preferring to engage in instrumental types of complaints over expressive complaints, thereby expressing complaints only when they believe they will accomplish desired outcomes.”
In basic words, when we are mindful of our complaining, we would complain over something that we believe has a solution, not just complaining to express feeling.
What do you think? Are you a complainer? What type are you? Let us know in the comments below!