By Kathy Pollard
According to an article published in Entrepreneur a couple of months ago, “most people complain once a minute during a typical conversation.” I’ll be paying more attention to my speech to make sure I don’t fall under the category of “most people,” but even if I don’t voice a complaint in my conversations I wonder if I think it? The article goes on to show the negative effects of complaining:
- It rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely.
- It becomes your default behavior, which changes how people perceive you.
- It damages other areas of your brain.
- It raises stress levels.
- It lowers your immune system.
- It’s contagious. Like second hand smoke, it negatively affects those around you.
The article states that the solution to complaining is “to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.” “When you feel like complaining, shift your attention to something you’re grateful for.” Gratitude:
- Reduces stress levels
- Improves mood, energy, and productivity
- Lowers anxiety
I imagine gratitude is also contagious and will positively affect those around you.
I find it interesting that this nonreligious article (based on scientific research) is simply confirming what God has been telling us all along. “Do all things without grumbling or complaining” (Phil. 2:14). Instead, “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18; Col. 3:15,17; Eph. 5:20). It doesn’t surprise me that it’s been proven that complaining is bad for our health and gratitude is good for our health. As the saying goes, “When God says, ‘Thou shalt not,’ He’s really saying, ‘Do yourself a favor.'”
The article suggests that, over time, complaining or gratitude can become a way of life. This means my words may reveal more to others than I intended. They reveal my heart and all that I choose to focus on (Luke 6:45; Prov. 4:23). My words affect more than I intended. They affect my own health and even the health of those around me. Complaining or gratitude. This simple, daily choice has great impact.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord”