How Complaining Rewires Your Brain

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I read this article recently and thought it was SO INTERESTING!

Here’s the gist behind how excessive complaining rewires your brain:

“There’s something called “experience-dependent neuroplasticity,” which is the continuing creation and grouping of neuron connections in our brains that take place as a result of our life experiences.

Neuroscience teaches us that neurons that fire together, wire together. Donald Hebb, a Canadian neuropsychologist, coined that phrase back in 1949. What this means is that whenever we think a thought or have a feeling or physical sensation, thousands of neurons are triggered and they all get together to form a neural network.

With repetitive thinking, the brain learns to trigger the same neurons each time.

So, if you keep your mind looping on self-criticism, worries, and how nothing is working out for you, your mind will more easily find that part of your brain and will quickly assist you in thinking those same thoughts again.”

Crazy, right? So if we’ve gotten into the habit of dwelling on negative experiences/feelings then the next time something doesn’t go our way (like someone cuts you off in traffic, let’s say) our brain’s kneejerk reaction is not to let the incident slide, but for us to be negative and complain about it.

So what can we do to stop this negative cycle?

  1. Catch Yourself: When you notice yourself complaining, STOP IT and change the subject.
  2. Be Grateful: How can you complain and be grateful at the same time? You can’t! No matter the situation, find something to be grateful for. Someone cuts you off in traffic, be grateful you were alert while driving. Be grateful your favorite song just came on the radio.
  3. Put your energy elsewhere: Complaining is emotionally draining (it is to the people who have to hear it too), change that negative energy into something positive! Give compliments, say thank you, serve others, and laugh more!
  4. Breathe and meditate: There’s no doubt things will happen that annoy us, but take deep breaths while you’re in the situation and practice tips #2 and 3.

Once my friend was in a long line at the store. She was getting impatient and her initial reaction was to be grouchy with the clerk when it was her turn. Instead, she took a deep breath and noticed that the clerk was all alone in the store trying to assist many customers. She smiled and told the clerk she was doing a great job instead. The clerk perked right up and my friend felt better too!

At home, meditate  or do yoga to relieve stress. Writing in a gratitude journal is also helpful.

Just like your brain can get wired for negativity, we can rewire it to be more positive! I feel like in this world we live in, we definitely need more of that! I also want to be an example to my kids on being positive. Society tell us that it’s all about “ME” and if something doesn’t go my way, I have the right to complain and shout my frustrations. I want to make a different choice. I CHOOSE HAPPINESS and FINDING JOY IN THE JOURNEY EACH AND EVERY DAY!!

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Taking Time for YOU is not selfish

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We would never tell someone else “You’re not good enough.” or “Why bother trying, you’re just going to fail”  but we say these kinds of negative things to ourselves all the time. Sometimes the hardest person to love is yourself. Why is that? So many outside forces demand our attention and often times we end up giving everything we’ve got to someone else and leaving little for ourselves. Taking time for yourself is not selfish. In fact, it should be a priority in your life! I recently read an article that had great tips for learning to how to change your mindset and develop a healthy, loving relationship with yourself.

First of all, remember this:  “Learning to love yourself starts with making a conscious decision, an intention to become happy and lead a fulfilled life. When you do not love yourself and suffer from low self esteem, it is almost impossible to ever reach the potential that you suspect you have. ”

  1. Get ride of negative self talk. Tell that little voice in your mind to BE QUIET whenever you think something negative about yourself. Instead, tell yourself, “I’m doing my best.”
  2. Praise Yourself Daily.  Turn negative talk around using “because statements” For example, I had a friend who was really nervous about a presentation she had to do at work. Her negative talk told her she wasn’t smart enough to pull it off. I told her she was! So we turned it around into a positive affirmation “Because I am smart, I can do a successful presentation!”
  3. Trust Yourself. Know that you have the ability to make important decisions for yourself, for as long as you put your heart to it. You can also support yourself by visualizing desired outcomes.
  4. Forgive Yourself. We’ve all made mistakes…big and small. Don’t let old mistakes keep you from living a fulfilling future.
  5. Be Honest with yourself. If you are happy, celebrate it! If you are sad, acknowledge it. Don’t try to bury feelings or lie to yourself.
  6. Relax and Have Fun!  Take time to Meditate, or go for a walk and appreciate the silence and beauty of nature. This can help you clear your thoughts and focus on what’s important. Do something FUN that YOU want to do–not what your kids or someone else wants to do. Sometimes what I want to do IS to play in the sprinklers with my kids, but maybe another time it’s to have a lunch date with my girlfriends. Don’t feel guilty if your spouse/kids aren’t always involved.
  7. Look after your body- It has been found that the lack of self love is often the root causes of conditions like eating disorders, obesity or even terminal diseases. We only get one body in this life, treat it kindly. When we love ourselves on the inside, we start to treat the outside better.
  8. Go After Your Dreams-“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” —Mark Twain

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Listening to personal development, listening to the birds and water, and walking is such a great way for me to prep for the day as a mom!

Sometimes it can be so hard as mom to work on ourselves or to do something for mom! Either the kids take so much of our time and energy or we can easily feel selfish and like a bad mom if we do something for ourselves.

However I have found that it is okay to be a bit selfish and TAKE CARE OF YOU!! When I take the time each day to take care of me and also to prepare myself mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically each morning before the kids wake up– that is what helps me to be a better mom!!!

Having a hard time finding joy and purpose in your life or a reason to want to get up?! Start your day – every day- with personal development and a workout! It will completely change your life!!!