Psychology: 4 Scientific Ways ‘Complaining’ Wires Your Brain For Negativity 


You will never resort to complaining again after reading what it does to your brain, body, personality and social life. Research has shown that most people complain once per minute during a typical conversation and Nigerians are no exception.

As a matter of fact, it is observed that complaining is tempting because it feels good, but like many other things that are enjoyable — such as smoking or drinking excess alcohol– scientists says repeated complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely and subsequently, you discovers that it is easier to be negative than to be positive and this is how it does it:

The brain loves efficiency and does not like to work any harder than it has to. So when you repeat a behavior, such as complaining, your neurons branch out to each other to ease the flow of information. This makes it much easier to repeat that behavior in the future — so easy, that you might not even realize you’re doing it.

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Complaining damages the problem-solving part of your brain

This is not an exaggeration. Research from Stanford University has shown that complaining shrinks the hippocampus — an area of the brain that’s critical to problem solving and intelligent thought. Rather than working to find solutions to problematic issues, the hippocampus becomes stressed due to excessive complaint – especially when you consider that it’s one of the primary brain areas destroyed by Alzheimer.

Complaining is bad for your health

The stress hormone called cortisol is released when you complain and this hormone moves you into fight or flight mode, directing oxygen, blood and energy away from everything except the systems that are essential to immediate survival. For instance, one effect of cortisol is to raise your blood pressure and blood sugar so that you’ll be prepared to either escape or defend yourself.

All the extra cortisol released by frequent complaining impairs your immune system and makes you more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. It even makes the brain more vulnerable to strokes.

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Complaining affects your social life


Nobody likes to seat with someone who complain too much. Human beings are inherently social, our brains naturally and unconsciously mimic the moods of those around us, particularly people we spend a great deal of time with.

Complaining is a lot like smoking — you don’t have to do it yourself to suffer the ill effects. You need to be cautious about spending time with people who complain about everything. Complainers want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. Just as non-smokers distance themselves from smokers, the same goes for complainers

Solution to complaining

2 out of 3 Nigerians must have complained twice in the morning rush hour. It really takes discipline to stop yourself from complaining. But one of the ways to make it easier is to develop an attitude of gratitude – contemplate what you’re grateful for; focus mostly on the positive side of everything and people around you. This will reduce the stress hormone cortisol by 23%.

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Other ways to quit complaining

  • Learn to be less judgmental;
  • Be the change you want to see in the world;
  • Accept responsibility: rather than complain about a problem, seek ways to fix it or simply accept there’s nothing to be done about it.
  • Indulge in things that makes you happy. For instance, think of hobbies that brings out the happy child in you.
  • Change the way you think: Try not to think or make negative comment about something or someone, stop and force yourself to say something positive instead. You can enlist the help of a cheerful friend to stop you when you complain and help you to see the positive in the situation.
  • Allow yourself to vent every once in a while: Don’t feel ashamed if you need to talk through negative feelings.

In time, a positive attitude will become your way of life.