(Inc.) Listening to Complainers Is Bad for Your Brain
Do you hate it when people complain? It turns out there's a good reason: Listening to too much complaining is bad for your brain in multiple ways, according to Trevor Blake, a serial entrepreneur and author of Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life. In the book, he describes how neuroscientists have learned to measure brain activity when faced with various stimuli, including a long gripe session.
"The brain works more like a muscle than we thought," Blake says. "So if you're pinned in a corner for too long listening to someone being negative, you're more likely to behave that way as well."
Even worse, being exposed to too much complaining can actually make you dumb. Research shows that exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity--including viewing such material on TV--actually peels away neurons in the brain's hippocampus. "That's the part of your brain you need for problem solving," he says. "Basically, it turns your brain to mush."
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Posted August 24, 2012 at 9:01 am
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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/44592/
1. Dan Crawford wrote:
One of most insightful penances given by a a friend, a Catholic priest, to a man who consistently and always confessed losing his temper and being angry with his family and friends, including episodes of “road rage” was that he stop listening to talk radio for a month. The man returned to the priest and told him that for the period of his abstinence he felt very much at peace and was considerably more patient in dealing with his family and friends, to say nothing of drivers on the road. My friend is on to something. It’s unfortunate that so much of the FM and AM bands are controlled by the ranters of the right and left. (In my part of the country, the right predominates.
August 24, 2:44 pm | [comment link]
2. RMBruton wrote:
August 24, 11:54 pm | [comment link]
The folks over at Stand Firm really need to read this.
3. Sarah wrote:
RE: “The man returned to the priest and told him that for the period of his abstinence he felt very much at peace and was considerably more patient in dealing with his family and friends, to say nothing of drivers on the road.”
I can’t really comment on road rage, but it’s certainly true that I’m much more silent and willing to be hiking and reading fiction in isolated splendor, the more oblivious, unaware, and unengaged I am.
But . . . the last thing I’d want is for us to have *even more* unengaged people who dealt with their inability to control the expression of their high emotions by becoming more unaware and disengaged.
A part of life is to become more aware, more engaged, yet also be able to maintain one’s inner tranquillity and joy.
The thing I don’t appreciate about *solely complainers* is that they’re not interested in taking action to fix whatever it is that they’re complaining about. I had an early boss who told me “please come to me with a solution for whatever problem you observe, so that it can be fixed or at least ameliorated.” I’ve always appreciated that, and it also helped hone my problem solving skills.
I suspect that *solely complainers* feel helpless and unable to do anything. But it’s always been a healthy thing to 1) notice problems, 2) analyze them, and then 3) think of things to do in response.
All of that to say finally—thank God for talk radio. Hopefully people will vote. Otherwise, complaints and analysis of issues won’t ultimately accomplish a thing. ; > )
August 25, 8:16 am | [comment link]
4. Sarah wrote:
And on a side note, I had to smile at the complaint from a long-standing Anglican complainer about another blog in a comment on a post about listening to complainers.
Sometimes hearing a complainer doesn’t cause a negative stimuli at all; sometimes it just causes a laugh.
August 26, 7:48 am | [comment link]
5. RMBruton wrote:
August 28, 1:22 pm | [comment link]
It seems that my earlier suggestion has struck a nerve and been misconstrued as a complaint. The endless stream of ‘ain’t it awfulness’ by former and currently disgruntled Episcopalians is sad, rather than humorous. Pity that folks can’t just move-on with their lives. Being neither an Episcopalian nor a Continuing-Episcopalian, I have no dog in this fight.
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