Beware! Complaining can damage your brain…

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Beware! Complaining can damage your brain…

Have you ever heard of a show called Fashion Police?

It entails a panel of fashion ‘experts’ dissecting what celebrities are wearing at red carpet events. More often than not, it tends to lean toward these so-called ‘authorities on fashion’ slamming, criticizing, and tearing down others.

For a lot of people, shows like these have become a form of modern entertainment in our world – and it’s really a shame.

When did we become a society that takes pleasure in the fall of others? When did it become acceptable for hosts to publicly broadcast hurtful (and downright mean) comments to an audience of millions at the expense of another?

I remember once watching an award show on TV with a friend, and every time a celebrity came out to perform, she had something to say: “That dress is ugly!” “I hate her hairstyle!” “I can’t stand her voice!”

I was honestly taken aback. I wanted to ask, “Is there anyone on this show you don’t hate?”

I think the saddest part about it all is that many people become full-time haters because they’re so discontent with their own lives. They truly believe that by trashing others, they can make themselves feel better, or that by putting down others, they can feel superior – “At least I’m not in their position.”

Unfortunately, the more we practice this habit, the more hardwired it becomes. A neuropsychologist named Donald Hebb believed that “neurons that fire together wire together.”

When you reinforce a certain mindset by practicing it over and over again, you strengthen a neuropathway in your brain, and this type of thinking, whatever it may be, eventually becomes an automatic reaction, your go-to strategy.

In other words, the mind takes it shape from what it rests upon. The more you allow your brain to entertain the thoughts of a hater, the easier it’ll be for you to go straight to those negative comments when the opportunity presents itself. It’ll be like second nature to you.

The scary part? Complaining and negativity actually physically change your brain!

Studies have shown that the stress caused from complaints and negativity can actually damage the part of your brain that’s used for problem solving and cognitive function, which eventually can lead to problems with memory and your ability to adapt to new situations. (That’s because stress releases a hormone named cortisol that eats away at these parts of your brain).

And this is where we come full circle, because it’s not just you complaining that damages your brain. Viewing just 30 minutes of negativity on TV (like shows that tear people down) can have the same harmful impact on your brain.

So what’s one to do?

  • For starters, recognize the type of content you’re taking in. If you feel stressed or low-energy or even downright depressed after watching a TV program, it may be time to part ways with your favorite shows and start hunting down empowering media. Check out websites like Gaia or Ted – even YouTube has incredible content and all for free!
  • The next time you feel ‘inspired’ to say something negative about another person, stop yourself in your tracks and think of something positive about the person instead. This helps to break down that ‘hardwiring’ and create a new neuropathway in your brain, so that positivity is your new automatic reaction!

Don’t let society tell you how to wire your brain. Don’t let what’s popular convince you that it’s okay to tear down others for our own entertainment.

I believe in a world where we can love and encourage each other, and grow together in unity and peace. Together, we can get closer to living that reality. 🙂

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