Did you know that people complain about once a minute in a normal conversation?
Jessie Shepherd, a Mental Health Counselor, says negative conversations are easy socially, create connections and reward our brains with dopamine.
But it's bad for you -- just like smoking or drinking in excess. It starts with a dopamine response, but also increases cortisol. Extended high levels of cortisol impairs your immune system reducing its ability to fight off illness. It also makes you more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes and strokes.
Jessie says it's important to combat the negative! Here's her advice:
Cultivate a grateful attitude: Even if you experience negative stimuli, you can reduce the damage it has by being grateful for something about it. For example, "At least I have the resources and supports to handle this situation relatively well". Studies show that simply thinking these types of thoughts reduce cortisol by 23 percent (University of California, Davis, 2017). With any gossip or negative talk about others, follow up negative statements with a positive to reduce the cortisol impact on your brain.
Use solution focused complaining: When you are complaining make sure you have a clear goal of what you are trying to achieve. If you can't think of one, there probably is not a solution and you should shift into positive, grateful attitude stance. Be specific to others. Make yourself clear without being mean or blaming. Let them know what you are looking for out of the interaction. Follow up with a positive and thankful attitude.
You can find more from Jessie at: jessiethetherapist.com.