No Complaining Today

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

Being surrounded by negativity can physically harm your brain. Listening to too much complaining—30 minutes or more of negativity—can actually hurt the neurons in your hippocampus, a part of your brain that helps you store memories. So bellyaching can make your brain ache.

To shift the world around you, try starting with yourself: Productivity experts including Tim Ferriss, author of The Four-Hour Work Week, go through periods where they try to live without complaining about anything. For Ferriss, this doesn’t mean never being critical, as many jobs require criticism to improve. Instead, he defines complaining for him as “describing an event or person negatively without indicating next steps to fix the problem.” He says he’s made it up to 21 days without a complaint.

He was inspired by a book called A Complaint-free World that’s been featured by Oprah and other TV personalities. The book comes equipped with a purple bracelet, similar to a yellow Livestrong band. It’s used in a similar way to the rubber band described in yesterday’s Daily Dose: Whenever a complaint-free devotee belly aches, he switches the band from one wrist to the other. The goal is to go as many days as possible without a complaint.

As with any habit, you’ve got to start with Day 1: See if you can go a single day without a complaint. Start today. You could potentially influence those around you and save your brain cells—and theirs.