Sure, complaining can be fun, partly because it gives us the illusion that we are actually solving the problem. But the good feeling passes quickly and it doesn’t really change anything, making you a victim rather than a problem solver.
Even more importantly, complaining, the incessant reflection on how lousy life is makes you a victim (woe is me) and sends your brain a barrage of depressing messages that reinforce the negative feelings you’re already having. A series of studies by psychologist Barbara L. Fredrickson (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) indicate that finding ways to complain less and send yourself positive messages rather than negative ones every day can be life altering. She calls it the Broaden-and-Build-Theory-of-Positive-Emotion, and says “that people’s daily experiences of positive emotions compound over time to build a variety of consequential personal resources.” In other words, being upbeat subconsciously sends you messages that make you feel even more upbeat; the opposite of spiraling into the abyss. To accomplish this she recommends what she calls “Loving Kindness Meditation,” a methodology she used in the study.
If you missed part one of this article, you can find it here.
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