I’m pretty sure we can all pick out that one person who is a consistent negative ninny. The one person who we think sees the glass half empty, but who insists that they are just a hard-edged realist. For me, it is one of my long time childhood friends Sam.
Things are never good enough for Sam and she is always the victim of something. After knowing her for about 15 years now, I’m pretty used to her negativity and I can just let it roll right off my back.
But, this is only after a lot of practice. It really used to take a lot of my energy to be around her because it was so incredibly draining. There are a couple different types of draining energies but all of them stream from one core value: Negativity.
Now, I am not completely innocent of negativity. I too complain from time to time without even realizing I’m doing it. It’s pretty much a part of our culture nowadays. Dr. Robin Kowalski professor of psychology at Clemson University explains that everyone complains, at some point, at least a little.
There are a few varieties when it comes to complainers. I’m sure you can stick a face to each different category.
The words you choose to use can literally change your brain.
Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist at Thomas Jefferson University, and Mark Robert Waldman, a communications expert, collaborated on the book, “Words Can Change Your Brain.” In it, they write, “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”
When we use words filled with positivity, like “love” and “peace”, we can alter how our brain functions by increasing cognitive reasoning and strengthening areas in our frontal lobes. Using positive words more often than negative ones can kick-start the motivational centers of the brain, propelling them into action.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, when we use negative words, we are preventing certain neuro-chemicals from being produced which contribute to stress management. Each and every one of us are initially hardwired to worry; it’s how our primal brain protects us from dangerous situations for survival.
So, when we allow negative words and concepts into our thoughts, we are increasing the activity in our brain’s fear center (the amygdala), and causing stress-producing hormones to flood our system. These hormones and neurotransmitters interrupt the logic and reasoning processes in the brain and inhibit normal functionality. Newberg and Waldman write, “Angry words send alarm messages through the brain, and they partially shut down the logic-and-reasoning centers located in the frontal lobes.” Continue reading →