Listening to someone complain, even if it’s yourself, has never done anyone any good. Some people say that it may act as a catharsis, a way to let go of negative emotions and experiences, and maybe letting it all out once in a while does feel good, but taking a closer look at what complaining actually does to the brain gives us even more cause to strive for a positive frame of mind and cut out the complaining.
“Synapses That Fire Together Wire Together”
The brain is a complex physical organ that somehow works in tandem with consciousness to create the personality of a human being, always learning, always re-creating and re-generating itself. It is both the product of reality and the creator of reality, and science is finally beginning to under stand how the brain actually creates reality.
Author, computer scientist and philosopher, Steven Parton, examined the ways in which negative emotions in the form of complaining, both expressed by the self and experienced from others, affect the brain and body, coming up with a number of keen observations that help us to understand why some people can’t seem to get out of a negative mood.
His theory suggests that negativity and complaining actually physically alters the structure and function of the mind and body.
“Synapses that fire together wire together,” says Parton, which is a concise way of understanding the essence of neuroplasticity, the science of how the brain re-wires itself based on whatever it is repetitively exposed to. Negativity and complaining breeds more of the same, as this theory points out.
Parton explains further:
“The principle is simple: Throughout your brain there is a collection of synapses separated by empty space called the synaptic cleft. Whenever you have a thought, one synapse shoots a chemical across the cleft to another synapse, thus building a bridge over which an electric signal can cross, carrying along its charge the relevant information you’re thinking about.
…Every time this electrical charge is triggered, the synapses grow closer together in order to decrease the distance the electrical charge has to cross…. The brain is rewiring its own circuitry, physically changing itself, to make it easier and more likely that the proper synapses will share the chemical link and thus spark together–in essence, making it easier for the thought to trigger.”
Furthermore, his understanding of this process includes the idea that the electrical connections most utilized by the brain will become shorter, and therefore more frequently chosen for use by the brain. This is how one’s personality is altered.
However, as conscious beings, we have the power to affect this process, simply by being aware of how the universal play of duality is at work in the nascent moments of thoughts. We have the power to choose to generate thoughts from the consciousness of love, over fear, thereby ensuring that the brain and personality are positively altered.
Empathy and the Mob Effect
There is more to this action than just the effect that complaining has on the self. This line of scientific reasoning extends to the dynamics between two-people, giving scientific understanding of how one’s complaining brings other people down.
Mirror-neurons ensure that we learn from our environment, and are the essential bio-chemical element of empathy. The brain relates to what another person is expressing, and the empathic portion of ourselves responds by ‘trying on’ this emotion as an attempt to relate to and understand the externally unfolding drama.
So, when a person enters and drops a huge boatload of gossip, negativity and drama on you, you can be assured that it is affecting you bio-chemically, and is decreasing your chances of actually being happy. Exposure to this kind of emotional outburst actually causes stress, and because stress kills, complaining and negativity may seriously be contributing to your early demise.
Parton refers to this outlook as ‘the science of happiness,’ and the example of the behavior of complaining does make a fitting case study for the connection between the power of thought and the amount of control a person can exert on the creation of our shared, three-dimensional reality.
“…if you’re always complaining and belittling your own power in reality, you will not think you have the power to change it. And thus it will never change.”