If there were to be an eleventh commandment, it would be ‘Thou shalt not bitch.’
The average person complains at least once a minute during conversation.
Complaining is our favourite icebreaker. Nothing builds solidarity faster than bitching about the same problem.
In the age of social media, it only takes a couple of clicks to turn everything into a bitching fest.
Bitching is not about changing the situation. It is about whining and complaining and admiring the problems in your life.
Complains are like the clouds that produce no rain no matter how thick they gather. Never depend on your complaint thinking they are stair cases. Drop that thing.
When you are a chronic whiner, you attract similar complainers into your social and personal circle. Thus begins the endless cycle of bitching to deal with everything.
Bitching smacks of frustration, desperation, jealousy, contempt and sometimes all of them. Nobody has ever got anything done by bitching.
Life is unfair, but since there is no alternative, we have to stop bitching about it, and start dealing with it.
The habit of complaining is not easy to get over - especially if you have surrounded yourself with people who validate your complaining.But it can be overcome.
If you stop bitching, expect to see these 5 positive changes in your life.
1. You will have more time and energy to concentrate on what truly matters
Bitching is a drain on your time and mental resources.
Author Will Bowen says, on an average we complain 15 to 30 times in a day. Imagine the time and energy we are wasting there!
Is it even doing any good for your life?
The complaining behavior in social interaction study revealed that, over 75% of all complaints registered were non-instrumental in nature, in that they were not directed at changing an existing state of affairs but, rather, were expressed for reasons such as to vent frustration or to solicit sympathy.'
When you continue to bitch about the lousy day at work even after coming home, though physically you are home, mentally you are still in the same miserable place.
A better use of your time would be to understand why you struggled and finding out ways to deal with it.
Negative thoughts readily attract our attention and negative emotions linger on our mind for a longer time. Whereas positive emotions need conscious reinforcement. When you are too busy complaining, you won't be left with much time or energy to invest in positive emotions.
I had no shoes and I cried, until I met a man who had no feet!
When you are in a constant complaining mode, you often miss out on all the good things around you.
In fact, we have become so engrossed in our petty miseries, we have a hashtag (#Firstworldproblem) now to mock the trivial problems Americans are fond of complaining about.
Constant complaining puts you in the victim mode and robs you of the power to take action on your challenges.
Negative thoughts also narrow your capabilities. When you stop complaining, you will realise that you have many mental resources at your disposal to work on the things you are dissatisfied with.
Bitching takes our eye off the goal and shifts our focus onto unimportant things.
What you focus on can change how you view the world.
When you focus on the right thoughts and the right actions, the right things will come to the forefront of your consciousness.
2. Your Brain will rewire itself for positivity
Your brain has evolved over hundreds of years to learn constantly from the environment it's repeatedly exposed to.
Repeating negative thoughts rewires the synapses in our brain, to think more negative thoughts. Having a particular thought in a certain situation, makes it easier for your brain to mimic the thought again in a similar situation.
As a result of long term bitching, negative thoughts will start to take over even in random situations and without cause.
Because that's the shortest path for the neuron to travel - and when you are constantly bitching, it's the road your brain feels comfortable on autopilot.
Negative thoughts are powerful. Our brain not only places higher value on them, but in time it will also align our behaviour to the negative narrative in our minds.
MRI Imaging has proven that negative words stimulate the areas of the brain associated with perceptions and cognitive thinking.
When you are constantly exposing your mind to negative words and emotions with your bitching, it will reinforce the negative thoughts.
Bitching ensures that you live in an echo chamber that constantly reminds you of all that is wrong with your life.
The only way to get out of this loop of negativity feeding into negativity is to stop complaining.
When you stop complaining, you will focus on the positives and you are more likely to develop a positive frame of mind.
This means you will have better thoughts that do not drain you mentally.
The possibilities of thought training are infinite, its consequence eternal, and yet few take the pains to direct their thinking into channels that will do them good.
The next time you catch yourself complaining, stop right there - and distract yourself with the one good thing that happened on that day.
While you are at it, why not try to focus on three good things?
You can rewire your brain for positivity by just thinking 3 positive thoughts for 21 days.
3. You will start seeing the good side of people
As humans, we all have the Confirmation Bias - it is the tendency to seek and focus on information that reinforces our beliefs.
So, if you are a constant complainer, then you are prone to see the negative side of the people because, it confirms that narrative in your mind.
Complaining Behavior in Social Interaction study found that, the most frequent complaints involve specific behaviors of another person.
As we have little control over the other person's behaviour, we often end up complaining behind their back.
When we let these feelings fester over time instead of confronting and resolving them, we start to see the person in a negative light.
In reality, people are neither black, nor white - we are varying shades of grey.
Every person has a bad side along with a good side. This is how nature intended it.
We often say, “Find good people and leave bad ones.”
Why is it important to see the good side of people?
Because everybody is fighting a hard battle. Nobody has it as easy as it looks from outside.
Have you heard the saying - give the dog a good name?
When you focus on and appeal to the good side of the people, they are more likely to live up to the standard you are showing them.
So, do not limit your mind by seeing only the bad side of others. Focus on the good qualities of people around you.
In time, you will be extended the same courtesy.
4. You will attract positive people into your life, who will give you a better shot at happiness.
A person who bitches is a cranky person. He is unpleasant to talk to and understand. Moreover his attitude is contagious.
Psychologists Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler have found that emotions are contagious - a person's happiness is related to his friends and the feelings of someone well beyond their social circles.
About 70% of Americans say they work with someone who’s always griping, according to a Cloud Nine media poll. Of that group, 67% admit that being around non-stop complainers sometimes puts a damper on their own productivity.
When we see someone experiencing an emotion, our brain ‘tries out’ that emotion by imagining what the person is going through. This again mirrors the effect of the same emotion in our brain.
Complaining not only ruins everybody else's day, it ruins the complainer's day, too. The more we complain, the more unhappy we get.
This is why it is so hard to be around bitchy people.
What if you were the one bitching constantly?
Very likely you are killing everyone’s buzz, and people are feeling drained when they are with you. No wonder people feel uncomfortable around you.
When you stop bitching, you will send out more positive vibes, making people around you upbeat.
They will respect you more, when they know you are more likely to make them feel good, rather than projecting your negativity onto them.
The company we keep is vital in deciding our happiness and positivity.
Carl Jung puts our personal relationships with family and friends as the second most important factor in happiness.
So, stop hanging out with people who validate your bitching. Instead, actively seek the company of people who push you towards solution-oriented thinking.
5. You will have peaceful mind and healthy body
Being a ‘Moaning Myrtle’ is harmful to your mind and body.
Steven Parton goes as far as to say that complaining can kill you !!
Continued exposure to complaining can shrink your hippocampus by damaging the neurons. This will have a negative impact on cognitive functions like memory and problem solving.
Just like passive smoking, even by being around people who are constantly bitching, you are putting yourself at risk.
Professor Sapolsky at Stanford’s medical school found that exposure to just 30 minutes of complaining and negativity (including viewing this on TV) per day can physically damage your brain.
Sapolsky’s study also revealed that exposure to complaining and negativity causes your brain to have the same emotional reaction as that experienced when stressed.
Chronic complaining creates a source of constant stress.
When you are under stress, your cortisol levels increase.
Elevated cortisol levels have been linked to weakening of the immune system, rise in blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and a host of negative ailments.
High cortisol levels increase your risk of mental illness, heart disease and depression.
Apparently what you consider as harmless venting is not that harmless after all.
Psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo says that too much complaining can lead to exclusive focus on the negative and placing blame on others.
This can eventually result in pessimistic thoughts, bad moods, and unhappy relationships - everything that puts your mental peace at risk.
In light of this overwhelming evidence, even the worst of the skeptics will have to rethink their stance on complaining.
If you want to live a happy and healthy life, ditch the bitching!
Do you want to be on the sidelines bitching? Or do you want to tackle life head on and work through your troubles?
The worst part about bitching is that, it does zilch to solve your problems.
In fact, you will be exactly where you started but with a tired brain and a battered self-image.
Complaining is like getting on a treadmill to go somewhere. You will travel the distance but never arrive at your destination.
To stop complaining you have to be mindful - it will not be automatic.
It will not happen tomorrow, but if you don’t start right now, it may not happen at all.
Invest your complaining time into finding constructive solutions to your challenges.
For starters, are you up to this 21 day no complaining challenge?