How you can stay positive and stop whiningWe're not always positive. Influenced by society, experience, upbringing, and exposure to the news we go through life. Yes, we try our best and we want to be happy. Always. But roadblocks and exhaustion can make it difficult and sometimes we enter the vale of tears. We know that whining neither helps the situation nor does it make us feel good. So how can we stay positive when the going gets tough? No whining please because:
It changes your brainNeuroplasticity is a term that refers to the brain's ability to change its structure and function. Nerve cells die, new ones form. Brain scans proved what we suspected all along: who's whining a lot becomes more and more negative. The reason for that is that our brain cannot differentiate between what we think and what we experience. Imagine the synaptic connections like paths between nerve cells. The more you train them, the more you walk them, the more you activate them the more approachable these nerve cells will become. The good thing about it is: training and repetition lead us to our goal. But if you train whining and complaining, you will become an expert in negative emotions. The number of times you walk a path will decide which path becomes your Main Street. Negative emotions cause a physical reaction. You probably noticed: when you're mad your heart rate increases and when you are afraid your muscles become tense. The hormones that regulate these reactions are either feel-well hormones that make you happy or fear and stress hormones, for instance, cortisol, that cause tension. If you feel negative emotions over and over again, more and more of the, in this case, undesirable hormones get released. That lowers your resistance to the next stress attack and puts you in a downward spiral.
Happiness is your decisionThe first step to stop whining is to make a conscious decision:
- Do I want to be a positive person?
- See things and positive light?
- Have confident expectations and
- Focus on solutions?
Whining feels good sometimesIn our society, bonding over a shared enemy or negative situation is a common way of socializing. Just listen to conversations all around you. We bond when we complain about the bad weather or when we commiserate with others and we team up when we find a common enemy. A trick of our mind: if something terrible happens, our brain helps us out by making us feel as we are the unluckiest person in the world. The most terrible thing in the world just happened to us. Not just one unlucky person. Oh, no! The most unlucky person ever in all of earth, space, universe and beyond. It might sound absurd but this is how our brain helps us to feel like a winner even when we lose. Whining can help us to feel better. It takes guts and honesty to acknowledge our own responsibility when something goes wrong. And it can be painful. Last but not least, whining is a fabulous way of getting attention. And I don’t mean that in a negative way. Some of our problems are wicked and dark and the last thing people around us want us to do is to tell them our deepest problems. What we do instead if we feel that we need some attention: we complain about something else. Imagine you’re standing in line in front of a register. It would be pretty awkward if you said something like: “I have been diagnosed with herpes and that worries me” to a random stranger. But what if you complained about the slow cashier instead? The people around you have problems too and they might be just glad that they can bond with you by complaining about the store with the worst cashiers. That way everyone can get a bit of empathy and compassion while at the same time none of the unspoken rules of society have been broken and nobody felt awkward (besides the cashier should they overhear your conversation).
Top five tips against whiningDon’t think this challenge is easy for me. We’re all human and everyone gets caught up in whining from time to time. But I have learned how I can minimize whining attacks and become a more positive person. I would love to share that knowledge with you:
Observe and recognizeThe first step is to recognize that you are whining. Often we are not aware of it. But first off let me say loud and clear: do not stress yourself. If you catch yourself whining, don't despair! It’s a good thing. Knowing is the first and necessary step to making changes. For the rest of today look for the source of every negative emotion. And ask yourself:
- How can I change my perspective?
- How can I invite more love, acceptance, and problem solving into that moment?
Solution mindset vs victim mindsetLet’s say you recognized something critical. Breeze deep and calm and ask yourself:
- What can I do?
- What besides whining and feeling bad can I do about the situation?
- Is there anything I can say?
- Is there anything I can do?